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Full text of "St. Leonard Of Port Maurice The Hidden Treasure Or The Immense Excellence Of The Holy Sacrifice Of The Mass"

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The present Work having been revised and 
examined, We hereby approve it, and recommend 
it to the Faithful, as well adapted to instruct and 
edify them. 



Dublin, January, 1861. 

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Approbation ji 

Memoir of Blessed Leonard . . . . vii 

Chapter. I Three Special Excellences of the 

aogust Sacrifice of the Mass ... 1 

Chapter II. — A Short and Devout Method of hear- 
ing Mass with great Fruit .... 45 
Chapter III. — Various Examples to induce all the 
Faithful of every State and Condition to hear 

Holy Mass daily 62 

§ 1. Examples to induce Priests to offer the 
Holy Sacrifice of the Mass every Morning, ex- 
cept in case of some legitimate Impediment . 64 
§2. Examples of various Princes, Rings, and 

Emperors 74 

1 3. Examples for Ladies in high Station 80 

j 4. For Women in general .... 83 
> 5. For Tradesmen and Artisans ... 87 
j 6. For Servants and Farm Labourers . 94 

) 1. An awful Warning to all those who do not 
set proper Value on the great Treasure of the 
Holy Mass 98 

An Easy Method of assisting at Holy Mass with 

great Fruit 107—112 

Exercises of Preparation and Thanksgiving for 

Confession and Holy Communion . . .113 

Prayers before Confession ib. 

Another Prayer 116 

Prayer after Confession ib. 

Prayers before Holy Communion .117 

Act of Faith . . . . ib. 

Act of Adoration 118 

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ActofHope 119 

Act of Love ib. 

Act of Contrition 121 

Act of Humility 122 

An Act of Desire 124 

An Act of Offering 125 

Devout Exercises after Communion ib. 

Act of Thanksgiving 127 

Act of Petition 129 

Act of Oblation 131 

Act of Self-Oblation to be made every Morning . ib. 
How you should act after receiving the Holy 

Communion 133 

The Viaticum ib. 

Conduct in the Church .... ib. 

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In presenting to the pious reader this new edition 
of the " Hidden Treasure," the Editor would 
fain hope that it will obtain a favourable recep- 
tion from all those who desire to strengthen their 
souls with holy and wholesome truths, supplied 
from the sacred Scriptures and other sources 
recognized by the Church. The golden simpli- 
city and unction which characterize the writings 
of the Blessed Leonard of Fort Maurice, are 
their strongest recommendation to all classes of 
Catholics, and we need only, refer to the experience 
of the pious missionaries who constantly exhort 
the faithful to study the pages of. the '.' Hidden 
Treasure," for incontestable proofs of the numeroup 
and singular blessings which have resulted from 
such reading. The holy author of this edifying 
little volume was born in the town of Fort Maurice., 
not far from Genoa, in the year 1676, and re- 
ceived in baptism the name of Faul Jerome. 
When twelve years, old he was confided by. his 
parents to an uncle residing at Borne, who com- 
mitted him to the care of the illustrious Father? 
of the Society of Jesus, from whom he received 
his first lessons in sacred and profane literature. 
Having made wonderful proficiency in his studies, 
under the guidance of such eminent teachers, and 



given indubitable signs that he was destined by 
God to achieve great works for his honour and 
glory, Paul Jerome resolved to abandon the 
world for the austerities of a religious life, and he 
accordingly sought and obtained admission into 
the convent of St. Bonaventure— one of the 
Franciscan monasteries at Rome — when he had 
completed his twenty-second year. Thenceforth 
the life of this blessed servant of God was an un- 
interrupted series of truly apostolical labours in 
Tuscany and throughout the Pontifical States ; 
so much so, indeed, that on completing his fifty- 
third year, he could count one hundred and three 
missions which he had given to enormous multi- 
tudes, who justly regarded him as a special instru- 
ment in the hands of Almighty God. Notwith- 
standing his excessive labours in the Lord's vine- 
yard, extending over a period of forty-five 
years, Blessed Leonard lived to the age of 
seventy-five, when, after a short and painless 
illness, he surrendered his soul to God on the 
26th November, 1751. The Editor deems it 
superfluous to add another word to the little he 
has already said, regarding the merits of this 
admirable work, since those, whose judgment may 
not be doubted, have pronounced it to be a key 
with which the pious Christian can unlock the 
treasury of heaven, and thus draw largely on itb 
all-sanctifying riches. 

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&c &c. 


OF THE MA 88. 

I. How -it outrages one's patience to be obliged 
to listen to the insulting language of certain liber- 
tines, who, from time to time, utter scandalous 
propositions, which savour of atheism, and are the 
very bane of true piety. "A Mass more or a Mass 
the less? say those impious people, "counts for. 
nothing. It is a hardship to be obliged to assist at 
Mass on holidays. The Mass of such a Priest is as 
long as that of the Holy Week, and I always hurry 
out of the church when I see him approaching the 
altar." The person who speaks in this manner 
shows unmistakeably that he has little or no re- 
spect for the most holy sacrifice of the Mass. 
Have you considered what the holy sacrifice of 
the Mass really is ? It is the sun of Christianity, 
the soul of Faith, the centre of the Catholic re- 
ligion, the grand object of all her rites, cere- 
monies, and Sacraments ; in a word, it is the 
condensation of all that is good and beautiful in 
the Church of God. Now, let me beseech you 
who read these pages, to ponder well on what I am 
about to say to you in the following instruction. 

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II. It is an undeniable truth, that all the re- 
ligions that existed ever since the foundation of 
the world, have always had some sacrifice as an 
essential part of the worship which they offered to 
God. But as their laws were either vain or im- 
perfect, so likewise were their sacrifices either vain 
or imperfect. Vainest of all vain things were 
the sacrifices of the idolaters, nor is it necessary, 
at any length, to dwell on this subject ; and im- 
perfect, too, were the sacrifices of the Jews, not- 
withstanding that they once professed the true 
religion, for their sacrifices were shadowy and 
defective, so much so that St Paul* designates 
them " weak and poor elements," because they 
were incapable of cancelling sin or conferring 
grace. The one great sacrifice of our holy re- 
ligion, that is the Mass, is holy, perfect, and in 
every respect complete, for by it the faithful 
render the highest honor to God, professing, at 
the same time, their own nothingness, and the 
supreme dominion which God has over all. David J 
called this sacrifice the "Sacrifice of Justice" and 
truly, indeed, because it contains the Just of the 
Just, the Holy of Holies, nay, Justice and Sanc- 
tity itself, and because it sanctifies souls by the in- 
fusion of grace, and the rich outpouring of the gifts 
which it bestows. As it is, therefore, a sacrifice 
so holy, so venerable, nay, and transcendently 
excelling all others, we will now unfold briefly, yet 
succinctly, some of its divine excellences, in order 
that you may be enabled to form a proper notion 
of this great treasure. I say some of them, be- 

* Gal. iv. 9. t Ts. iv. 6. 

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cause to enumerate tbem all would be to undertake 
what is far beyond our poor ability. 

III. In what does the chief excellence of the 
Mass consist ? In this, namely, that it is essen- 
tially the same, nay the very same sacrifice that 
was offered on the cross of Calvary, with this 
sole difference, however, that the sacrifice of the 
cross was bloody, and was offered once, and did, 
on that one tremendous moment, satisfy fully for 
all the sins of the world ; while the sacrifice of 
the altar is an unbloody sacrifice, which can be 
repeated throughout all times, and was insti- 
tuted in order to apply to each of us that universal 
atonement which Christ made for us on Calvary. 
In a word, the bloody sacrifice was the instru- 
ment of our redemption, and the unbloody places 
us in possession of it. The one opened to us the 
treasury of the merits of Christ our Lord, and the 
ether gives us the use of that never-failing trea- 
sury. Remember well, however, that in the Mass 
there is made, not a mere representation, nor a 
simple commemoration of the passion and death of 
the Redeemer, but in a certain sense in it there is 
performed that very same most holy action that 
was performed on Calvary; and it can be said with 
entire truth, that in every Mass our Redeemer re- 
tarns to die mystically for us, although He does not 
die really, thus being at one and the same time 
alive, and, as it were, slain, according to the pas- 
sage of the Apocalypse, " I saw a lamb standing, 
as it were slain." On Christmas Day the Church 
represents the birth of our Lord, but it is not true 
that our Lord is born on that day. On the Feast 

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of the Ascension, and on that of Pentecost, the 
Church commemorates the ascent of our Lord to 
heaven, and the coming down of the Holy Spirit 
to men on earth, but it is not true that the Lord 
ascends on that day to heaven, or that the Holy 
Spirit descends visibly to earth. But the same 
cannot be said of the mystery of the Holy Mass, 
because in it there is made no simple representa- 
tion, but, on the contrary, the very same sacrifice, 
in an unbloody manner, that was once offered on 
the cross with the effusion of blood ; that very 
same body, that very same blood, that very same 
Jesus that was once offered on Calvary, is now- 
offered in the holy Mass. " The work of our re- 
demption," says the Church, 4t is carried on" — ah, 
verily it is carried on in the Mass, and therein is 
repeated the same sacrifice that was offered on the 
cross. Oh, the stupendous work 1 Now answer 
me candidly, when you are going to the church to 
hear Mass, do you bear in mind that you are going 
to Calvary to be present at the Redeemer's death ? 
If this thought was deep in your soul, would you 
venture into the holy place with unbecoming gait, 
or in apparel that is immodest ? Had Magdalene 
gone to the foot of the cross on Calvary, bedizened, 
perfumed, and with a display of finery such as she 
wore in the time of her sinfulness, what would 
have been said of her? Now what are we to say 
of you who go to the holy place dressed out as for 
some merry-making ? What should be said of you 
if you were to profane that most august sacrifice 
by unbeseeming conduct, such as nods, salutations, 
laughter, whisperings, or, worse than all, lascivious 

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and sacrilegious glancings ? Iniquity is abomin- 
able on all occasions and in all places, but the sins 
that are committed during Mass, and under the 
shadow of the altar, are sins which call down 
God's signal maledictions, " Cursed be he who 
doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully."* Ponder 
seriously now while I unfold to you other and 
still more marvellous excellences of this most 
precious treasure. 

IV. It would seem that the holy sacrifice of 
the Mass could not have a more august preroga- 
tive than this — namely, that it is no mere copy, 
but original with the sacrifice of the cross. 
Its perfection is brought out by considering that, 
like the sacrifice of the cross, it has a God-man for 
its priest. Certain it is, that in presence of so holy 
a sacrifice three things should always be borne in 
mind : the priest who offers, the victim offered, 
and the majesty of God, to whom the oblation is 
made. Now, ponder well on the indescribable 
glory of the holy Sacrifice, and let each of these 
three considerations sink deeply into your soul. 
The priest who offers it is God made-man — Christ 
Jesus ; the victim is the life of God ; nor is it 
offered to any other than God. Revive your faith, 
therefore, and recognise in that priest, who makes 
the offering, the adorable person of our Lord Jesus 
Christ. He is the primary offerer, not only be- 
cause He has instituted this holy Sacrifice, and 
given it all efficacy through His merits, but also 
because in every Mass He, Himself, for love of us, 
deigns to transubstantiate the bread and the wine 

* Jer. xlviii. 10. 

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into his most holy body and into his most precious 
blood. Behold, then, the grandest prerogative of 
the holy Mass — its priest is God made-man ; and 
when you see the celebrant at the altar, remem her 
that his grandest dignity consists in being the 
minister of this invisible and eternal priest, our di- 
vine Redeemer himself. Hence it follows that the 
sacrifice must be grateful to God, although the 
priest who celebrates might happen to be iniqui- 
tous and sacrilegious, since the primary offerer is 
Christ our Lord, and the priest is merely His 
simple minister. Thus, for example, the person 
who gives alms through the hands of a servant is 
justly termed the primary donor ; and although 
the servant may be a wicked and sinful person, 
provided the giver be good and virtuous, the alms 
cannot fail to have their reward. Blessed, there- 
fore, be God, who has given us a holy, nay a most 
holy priest, who, not only in everyplace (the Chris- 
tian religion being now propagated to the ends of 
the world), but at all times, every day and every 
hour (for the sun rises for others whilst it sets to 
us), offers to the eternal Father this divine sacri- 
fice. Therefore, at all hours, and in every quarter 
of the globe, this most holy priest offers to the 
Father his soul and his entire self for us ; and thin 
He does as often as there are Masses celebrated 
throughout the entire universe. Oh, immense trea- 
sure ! Oh, mine of exhaustless wealth that we 
possess in the Church of God I Oh, happy we, 
could we but assist at all those Masses ! What a 
capital of merits might we not then lay up ! what 
an accumulation of graces in this life, and what a 

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fund of glory in the world to come would not 
that devout assistance provide for us ! 

V. But why do I use the word assistance? 
Surely those who hear Mass, not only perform the 
function of assisting, but they are likewise offerers, 
nay, and have a right to be called priests, accord- 
ing to the Apocalypse, 4 " Thou hast made ua 
to our God a kingdom, and priests ;" for, indeed, 
the celebrating priest is a public minister of the 
Church in common, and at the same time, a me- 
diator for all the faithful, and particularly for those 
who assist at Mass with the invisible priest, who is 
Christ ; and together with him he offers to the eter- 
nal Father, in behalf of all and of himself, the great 
price of human redemption. But he is not alone 
in this most august function, since all those who 
assist at Mass concur with him in offering the holy 
sacrifice ; and it is on this account that the priest 
turns to the people and says, " Fray, brethren, 
that mine and yovr sacrifice may be acceptable," 
in order that we may understand that although he 
performs the part of principal minister, all those 
who are present make the great offering along with 
him. Hence, when you assist at Mass you per- 
form to a certain extent the part of a priest. What 
say you now ? Will you ever again dare to hear 
Mass sitting, whispering, looking idly about you, 
nay, sometimes even sleeping ; contenting your- 
selves with reciting, thoughtlessly it may be, a 
few vocal prayers, heedless, entirely heedless of 
the tremendous office of priest which you are 
exercising. Alas 1 1 cannot refrain from exclaim- 

* Apoc t. 10. 

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ing : Oh, stupid world, that does not estimate mys- 
teries so sublime ! How is it possible that any one 
can remain in presence of the altar with a distracted 
mind and a dissipated heart at a moment when the 
angels hover there trembling and astonished, ab- 
sorbed in contemplating the effects of such a 
stupendous work ? 

VI. Are you astonished at hearing me call the 
Mass a stupendous work? if so, let me ask you 
what can there be more stupendous than the effect 
produced by a few words pronounced by a simple 
priest ? In fact, what tongue is there — angelic or 
human — that can adequately describe a power so 
measureless ? who could ever have imagined that 
the tongue of a man, which of itself has not power 
to lift a straw from the ground, would have been 
endowed by divine grace with a power — oh, how 
stupendous I — that can cause the Son of God to 
descend from heaven on earth ? This power far 
excels that of being able to remove mountains, drain 
seas dry, or regulate the motions of the planets ; 
nay more, the possession of this power, to a certain 
extent, rivals that first fiat by which God created 
all things out of nothing, and in a certain sense it 
seems to excel that other fiat by which the great 
Virgin attracted the Eternal Word to her b6som : 
for she did nothing more than supply matter for 
Christ's body which was formed from her most pure 
blood, but not by herself, that is not by her own 
act. But entirely different, and wonderful beyond 
describing, is the sacramental manner in which the 
words of the priest, whom Christ employs as his in- 
strument, reproduce. Him every time that he conse- 

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crates. Blessed John Buono, of Mantua, gave a 
singular illustration of this truth to a friend of his, 
a hermit, who was not able to comprehend how 
the words of a priest could be endowed with such 
a tremendous power as to be capable of changing 
'the substance of bread into the body of Jesus 
Christ, and the substance of wine into his blood. 
Let me add, moreover, that this poor hermit un- 
happily consented to doubts which the devil sug- 
gested. The good servant of God, perceiving the 
man's error, brought him to a fountain from which 
he took a vessel of water and gave it to him to 
drink. After he had drunk he protested that he 
never before, at any period of his life, had tasted 
such a delicious wine. Hearing this, Blessed John 
Buono said to him, " Dear brother, does not this 
convince you of the marvellous truth ? If God 
has been pleased to change the water into wine 
through the agency of such a creature as I am, 
how much the more readily should you believe 
that by virtue of the words pronounced by the 
priest, which are the words of God, the bread 
and the wine are converted into the substance of 
the body and blood of Christ ? And who shall 
presume to limit God's omnipotence ?* This sin- 
gular illustration, and the words of Blessed John, 
dissipated every doubt from the mind of the her- 
mit, who afterwards did great penance for bis sin. 
A little faith, but a lively faith, will convince us 
that the ineffable excellences contained in this 
adorable sacrifice are beyond counting ; nor will 
we be surprised at seeing the miracle repeated over 
and over again at every hour and in every place, 

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since the sacred humanity of Jesus Christ is en- 
dowed with a kind, if we may so speak, of im- 
mensity not granted to other bodies. This mul- 
tiplied existence of our Lord in the Sacrament 
was, as we are told, illustrated to an unbeliev- 
ing Jew by an illiterate woman. The Jew was 
standing in the public street, where there was a 
great crowd, and among them the woman, at 
the very moment when a priest, carrying the 
holy viaticum to a sick person, made his ap- 
pearance, followed by a large multitude. All 
the people knelt to adore the holy viaticum as it 
was borne along ; but the Jew stirred not, nor 
did he offer any sign of reverence. Perceiving 
this, the woman, roused to indignation, arose, 
pulled the cap off the Jew's head and gave him a 
cuff on the cheek, exclaiming at the same time, 
64 Infidel ! why do you not adore the true God in 
the divine Sacrament ?* "What true God?* 
said the Jew. " If the true God were there it 
would follow that there must be an infinity of 
Gods, since you assert that there is one on each of 
your altars any time that Mass is celebrated." 
Hearing this, the woman took a sieve, and placing 
it between the Jew's eyes and the sun, told him to 
look at the sun's rays through the apertures of this 
sieve. When he had done as she directed, she 
continued, " Tell me now, Jew, are there many 
suns, or only one, passing through the apertures of 
this sieve ? w to which the Jew answered, " There 
is only one sun." " Then," replied the woman, 
"why do you wonder if God, made-man and 
shrouded in the Sacrament, though one, indivisible, 

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and unchanged, should, through excess of love for 
us, present Himself really and truly on different 
altars ?" This was amply sufficient to convince 
the Jew; so much so, that he was compelled to 
acknowledge the truth of our holy faith. Oh, holy 
faith ! a single ray of thy light is sufficient to 
enable the most illiterate to answer with fervor of 
spirit. Ob, who will dare to set limits to God's 
omnipotence ? So profoundly was St. Teresa im- 
pressed with the idea of that omnipotence, that 
she was accustomed to say, " the sublimer, deeper, 
and more abstruse the mysteries of our holy faith, 
the firmer and devout er is my belief, and the 
greater is my reverence for them." And, indeed, 
she was justified in expressing herself thus, for 
she was thoroughly convinced that the omni- 
potence of God can effect still greater wonders 
far above our feeble intelligence. Revive your 
faith, therefore, and acknowledge that this divine 
sacrifice is the miracle of miracles, the wonder of 
wonders, and that its highest excellence consists in 
its being incomprehensible to our limited under* 
standing. Amazed at such marvellous goodness 
of our God, never cease repeating, Oh, treasure 
inestimable ! oh, treasure beyond ail human com- 
prehension ! But lest its prodigious excellence 
should not awaken these sentiments in your soul, 
let the necessity of such a holy sacrifice inspire 

VII. If there were no sun in the heavens what 
would be the condition of this world ? Alas ! all 
would be darkness, sterility, and indescribable 
misery. And if we had net the holy Mass what 

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would become of us ? Oh, wretched indeed would 
our condition be, deprived of every good, over- 
whelmed with every evil ; for we should then be, 
as it were, a target for the thunderbolt of God's, 
anger. Some there are who seem astonished when 
they fancy that our good God has, in a certain 
sense, changed His mode of governing the world 
since the ancient times ; for, in the latter He was 
wont to be called the God of armies, and He used 
to speak to the people out of the clouds with bolts 
of thunder in His hands ; for, indeed, He punished 
crime with all the rigor of His justice. For one 
single adultery He put five-and-twenty thousand 
of the tribe of Benjamin to the sword. For an 
act of vainglory committed by David in making 
a census of his kingdom, He sent a terrible plague, 
which in a very short time swept off seventy thou- 
sand of the population. For one irreverent and 
incautious glance He slew fifty thousand of the 
Betsamites. And in these our times He tolerates 
not only vanities and frivolities, but adulteries the 
most sordid, scandals the most barefaced, nay, and 
the most frightful blasphemies which many Chris- 
tians cast on His most holy Name. How then do 
we account for all this ? Why this difference in 
His mode of governing ? Is it because our ingra- 
titudes are more excusable than those of our pre- 
decessors ? Quite the contrary, indeed ; for as we 
have received blessings far surpassing those that 
were conferred on the Jews in the old dispensa- 
tion, so are we far more culpable than they. The 
holy sacrifice of the Mass is the true and sole rea- 
son of such stupendous clemency, for in it we offer 

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to the eternal Father the great victim, Jesus Christ. 
This is the sun of our holy Church which dissi- 
pates the clouds and restores serenity to the 
heavens. This, indeed, is the celestial rainbow 
that stills the tempest of divine justice. For my 
own part, I am persuaded that if it were not for 
the holy Mass the world would have long since 
tottered from its foundations, crushed beneath the 
enormous weight of so many accumulated iniqui- 
ties. The Mass is the ponderous and powerful 
supporter on which the world rests — which keeps 
it ironi falling into horrid chaos. Will not this 
reflection convince you of the necessity of this 
divine sacrifice ? But as this alone is not enough 
we must know how to turn to good account the 
blessings which it holds out to us. Wherefore, 
when assisting at the holy sacrifice, let us bear in 
mind a memorable fact recorded in the life of Al- 
fonso Albuquerque, who, with his fleet, being over- 
taken by a terrible storm at sea which threatened 
him with certain death, had recourse to the follow- 
ing expedient : taking a tender child that was at 
that moment aboard his ship, and holding him up 
to heaven he exclaimed, '< If we are sinners, this 
innocent babe surely is free from sin. O Lord ! 
for the sake of this sinless child save us, sinners, 
from death." Would you believe it ? God was so 
appeased by the sight of that pure infant that the 
storm was stilled, and the horror of impending 
death, which caused the sailors to weep and trem- 
ble, was turned into transports of joy. Now, 
what think you does the eternal Father when the 
priest, elevating the most holy victim of the altar 

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exhibits to Him the innocence of His divine Son ? 
Ah, surely His tender compassion cannot but be 
moved at sight of the immaculate innocence of 
Jesus, and surely that divine compassion must, in 
a certain sense, be constrained to still the fierce 
storms that assail us, nay, and to provide for our 
necessities. Ah, indeed, if it were not for this 
most holy victim, once offered for us on the cross, 
and now daily offered on our altars, we one and all 
might renounce all hope of heaven and look on 
hell as our final destination. Yes, assuredly, were 
it not for this ever blessed victim hell, hell should 
be our portion ! But this treasure of the holy Mass 
revives our hopes, and encourages us to look for 
everlasting glory in that paradise which cannot be 
forfeited except by our own folly and sinfulness. 
If, therefore, it is the duty of a Christian to twine his 
heart's affections round our altars, and to perfume 
them with incense and flowers of sweetest odour, 
it is still more necessary to honor them with purity 
and modesty, since they are, in fact, the mercy-seat 
from which we derive all good. With joined 
hands, therefore, and hearts thrilling with holy 
love, let us thank the eternal Father who has so 
mercifully obliged us to offer to Him this heavenly 
victim ; but let us be still more thankful for the 
countless benefits we can draw from it, provided 
we make the offering in the spirit of true believers, 
and for the sublime ends for which He has be- 
stowed this precious treasure upon us. 

VIII. A proper appreciation of what is high- 
minded and honorable must assuredly act with 
great power on the human heart ; but a sense of 

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what tends to our own individual advantage not 
only stimulates our efforts, but eventually enables 
us to achieve a triumph, no matter how great may 
be the obstacles thrown in our way. If, therefore, 
you set little value on the excellence and necessity 
of the holy Mass, how can you form any idea of 
the vast benefits that it bestows on the living and 
the dead, on the just man and the sinner, in life 
and death, nay, and even after death itself? 
Imagine yourself to be the debtor described in the 
Gospel, who, overwhelmed by the weighty amount 
often thousand talents which he owed, and being 
commanded to pay, excused himself, and suppli- 
cated piteously for time to discharge his obliga- 
tion, " Have patience with me and I will pay thee 
all ;"* and the self-same thing should you do, who 
owe not only one but many sums to the bank of 
divine j ustice. You ought to humble yourself and 
beg time, even as much as is sufficient to hear 
Mass, and you may rest satisfied that you will 
thus be enabled to discharge all your debts with- 
out drawback or abatement. The Angelic Doctor, 
St. Thomas, teaches us what are the debts that 
we owe to God, and he says that they are four, 
and that each of them is infinite. 

The first is to praise and honor the infinite 
majesty of God, which is eminently worthy of 
infinite honor and infinite praise. 

The second is to make satisfaction for all the 
sins we have committed. 

The third is to thank and bless God for all the 
benefits He has bestowed on us. 


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The fourth is to supplicate Him constantly, 
as the giver of all good gifts. 

How then can we, miserable creatures, who de- 
pend on God for the very air we breathe, make any 
satisfaction for debts so numerous or so weighty ? 
Let me at once, therefore, point out to you the 
easiest way of doing so, and let me add that this 
way of satisfying divine justice is one which should 
console me, you, and all of us. Let us be diligent 
in hearing Mass as often as possible, and with all 
possible devotion ; and furthermore, let us endea- 
vour to have as many Masses as possible celebrated 
for our intention. By this means, be our debts 
weighty as they may, and countless beyond num- 
bering, there can be no doubt that we will be able 
to discharge them all completely and entirely 
by the treasure which is derivable from the holy 
Mass. And in order that you may be fully en- 
lightened, and have a perfect knowledge of each 
of these debts, I will now explain them all one by 
one, for your edification ; and here let me remark, 
that this mode of proceeding must afford you the 
greatest consolation, since it makes known to you 
the great practical advantages, and the inex- 
haustible wealth that you can draw from so rich 
a mine on all occasions, and in all our necessities. 

IX. The first debt by which we have bound 
ourselves to God is to render Him supreme honor. 
Even the natural law lays down this as an indis- 
pensable obligation, namely, that every inferior 
owes homage to his superior, and the more exalted 
the latter, the greater the homage to which he is 
entitled. Hence it follows, that as God possesses 

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infinite greatness, we are bound to return Him 
love, so to say, infinitely infinite. But, alas ! where 
will we, miserable creatures, find any offering 
worthy of our Creator ? Pass in review before 
your eyes all the creatures of this world, and you 
will not find one of them worthy of God. Ah, 
what offering can there be worthy of God except 
God Himself? And He who is seated on the 
throne of His immensity vouchsafes to descend 
and offer Himself as a victim on our altars, in 
order that our homage may correspond perfectly 
with the pre-eminence of His infinite majesty. 
And this is effected in the holy Mass, in which 
God is honored as he deserves to be honored, 
because He is honored by God Himself, that is by 
Jesus, who, placing Himself a victim on our altars, 
adores the most holy Trinity by an act of inde- 
scribable submission, such as no other can offer ; 
so much so that all the offerings of all created 
beings, compared to this humiliation of our Divine 
Redeemer, are as the feeble light of the stars 
before the meridian splendours of the sun. 'Tis 
related of a holy woman, whose soul was intensely 
inflamed with love of God, that she was accustomed 
to express her ardent longings thus : " Ah, my 
God, my God, I wish that I had as many hearts 
and tongues as there are leaves on the trees, atoms 
in the air, and drops of water in the sea, to love 
thee as Thou deservest to be loved ! Oh, that I 
could encircle all earth's creatures with my hands, 
and lay them at thy feet, in order that they might 
be inflamed with love of Thee, provided I might 
love Thee more intensely than them all, nay, mor 


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intensely than all the angels and saints, more than 
Paradise itself V One day, when she was thus 
breathing forth these devout longings with re* 
doubled fervour, she had the happiness to hear our 
Lord answering her in these words : <( Dear 
daughter, be consoled, because, by a single Mass 
at which you assist devoutly, you can render to 
me all that glory for which your heart is on fire, 
hay, and infinitely more." And are you astounded 
at hearing this assertion ? But you have no rea- 
son to be so ; because as our good Jesus is not 
only man, but true and omnipotent God, He, by 
humbling, Himself upon the altar, renders, by that 
very act of humiliation, infinite homage and infi- 
nite honor to the most holy Trinity, so that we 
who co-operate with Him in offering the great 
sacrifice are thus enabled, through him, to offer 
unto God homage and honor which is infinite. 
Oh, stupendous fact ! Let us repeat it over and 
over again, since it never can be too deeply 
graven on our memories, " Certainly, certainly, 
by hearing holy Mass with proper dispositions, 
we offer unto our God homage and honor that 
is infinite !" Here, now, let holy amazement over- 
whelm your souls, and reflect that nothing can be 
truer than the proposition already laid down, 
namely, that by assisting devoutly at holy Mass, 
we bestow on God honor far surpassing that which 
all the choirs of angels and saints, aggregated into 
one great whole, can bestow upon Him in heaven, 
for, notwithstanding their state of blessedness, 
they, like ourselves, are mere creatures, and thus 
their homage is limited and finite ; whereas, in the 

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Mass, Jesus humbles Himself, a humiliation 
which is infinite in value and merits, and conse- 
quently the homage and honor which we render to 
God, through Him, in the Mass, is a homage and 
honor that is infinite. And since this grand truth 
cannot be doubted, ought we not congratulate 
ourselves on having it in our power to be able to 
satisfy this first debt by hearing the holy Mass ? 
Oh, blind world, when wilt thou open thine eyes 
to a truth so grand and so important? And 
yet, alas ! you will have the folly to say, " a Mas* 
the more or a Mass the less" counts for nothing ! 
Oh, abominable blindness ! 

X. Our second debt or obligation to God is to 
satisfy His justice for the numerous and enormous 
sins which we have committed. Oh, what a 
mighty debt this is I A single mortal sin so pre- 
ponderates in the scale of divine justice, that all 
the good works of all the martyrs and saints who 
have been, are, or ever shall be, could not satisfy 
for it ; and yet, by means of the holy Mass, if we 
but consider its intrinsic value and holiness, we 
are enabled to make complete satisfaction for all 
the sins we have committed. But in order that 
you may rightly comprehend how deeply you are 
indebted to Jesus, weigh well what I am about to 
say to you. Although He has been offended and 
outraged by our sins, yet, not content with having 
satisfied divine justice for us on Calvary, He has 
given, and continually does give us, the self-same 
means of satisfying it (divine justice) in the holy 
sacrifice of the Mass, because, by renewing in the 
Mass that offering which Jesus made to the eternal 

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Father on the cross, for the sins of the whole 
world, that very same divine blood, which He once 
poured out to ransom the human race, comes now 
to be applied to each and every one of us, because 
it is specially offered in the Mass for the sins of him 
who celebrates, and also for the sins of all those 
who assist at so tremendous a sacrifice. ' Let me 
not be understood as saying, that the sacrifice of 
the Mass cancels our sins immediately by itself, as 
the Sacrament of Penance does, but, rather, that 
it cancels them mediately, by obtaining for us 
various most necessary aids, such as interior im- 
pulses, holy inspirations, and actual graces, all 
of which are calculated to enable us to do true 
penance for our sins, either during the time of 
Mass or at some other opportune period. And 
it is for this reason that none but God can tell 
how many souls arise from the slough and chains 
of sin by means of the extraordinary aids which 
they derive from this divine sacrifice. And here 
let me impress on you, that although the sacrifice 
of the Mass cannot avail him who is in mortal 
sin as propitiatory^ it, nevertheless, can avail 
him as supplicatory, so that all sinners ought to 
hear many Masses, in order that they may ob- 
tain more easily the grace of conversion. To 
souls, however, that live in grace, it gives won- 
derful strength, calculated to maintain them in 
the state of grace; and it likewise cancels, by 
itself (according to the more generally received 
opinion), all venial sins, always provided that we 
have repented of them in the aggregate, accord- 
ing to what St. Augustine has left on record : 

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« Whoever hears Mass devoutly will receive great 
strength to avoid the commission of mortal sin, 
and he shall likewise obtain remission of all the 
venial sins that he may have committed up to 
that time." Nor should this astonish you, if you 
bear in mind what St. Gregory relates of a poor 
woman who caused Mass to be celebrated every 
Monday for the soul of her husband, who had 
been made prisoner by certain barbarians, and 
who, she thought, was dead ; for the holy sacri6ce 
caused the chains to fall from his feet, and the 
handcuffs from his wrists, so that during the 
whole time these Masses were being celebrated 
he was free, as he avowed when he came back 
to her. How much the more should we believe 
that a sacrifice so tremendous and holy must 
be most efficacious in releasing us from the 
spiritual chains, namely, venial sins, which keep 
the soul, as it were, imprisoned, and prevent it 
from acting with that liberty and fervour with 
which it would have acted if it were not for such 
impediments ? Oh, thrice holy Mass, which en- 
nobles us with the liberty of the sons of God, and 
satisfies for all the penalties which our sins de- 

XI. But you will say to me : " Therefore, it 
is quite enough for us to assist at, or cause a 
single Mass to be celebrated, in order to get rid 
of all those most weighty debts we owe to God by 
reason of the many sins we have committed, be- 
cause the Mass being of infinite value we can 
thereby render to God an infinite satisfaction.'' 
Do not rush to so rash a conclusion, I beseech 

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you, for although the Mass is of infinite value, 
you must know, nevertheless, that God accepts 
it in a manner limited and finite, and conform- 
ably to the greater or less perfection in the dis- 
positions of him who celebrates, causes to be 
celebrated, or assists at the sacrifice. *' Whose 
faith and devotion are known unto Thee," says the 
Church in the canon of the Mass, thus teaching 
us, by this manner of expression, what the great 
divines inculcate, namely, that the greater or less 
satisfaction applied by the sacrifice in our behalf, 
is determined by the greater or less perfection in 
the dispositions of him who celebrates, causes 
to be celebrated, or assists at the sacrifice, as we 
have said before. Now, only think of the folly 
of those who go in search of a Mass celebrated 
rapidly, or, what is worse, who assist thereat with 
little or no devotion ; think of the culpable in- 
difference of those who never ask to have Mass 
celebrated for them, and who are careless in 
selecting for that purpose priests who are most 
remarkable for their fervour and devotion. " It 
is certain," says St. Thomas, " that all sacrifices, 
as sacraments, are equal in dignity, but they are 
not equal, however, as far as regards the effects 
that flow from them; hence, the greater the 
actual or habitual piety of the celebrant, the 
greater shall also be the fruit of the applica- 
tion of the holy sacrifice, so that to make no 
distinction between a tepid and a devout priest 
in the function of celebrant, is % to be indifferent 
whether the net with which you would fish be 
big or little. All this is equally applicable to 

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those who assist at Mass. And although I would 
exhort you with all my energies to hear as many 
Masses as you can, yet I feel bound to admonish 
you that you should have more regard for the 
greater devotion than for the greater number, be- 
cause if your devotion at one single Mass be 
greater than that of a man who assists at fifty, 
you will give more honor to God in that single 
one, and you will derive more benefit from it, 
than the other does from fifty. "In satisfaction," 
says St. Thomas, " the disposition of the party offer- 
ing is more regarded than the quantity of the obla- 
tion ;" and although it is certain (as a profound 
authority lays down), that in some particular 
instance the justice of God might be satisfied for 
all the sins of the most heinous criminal through 
one Mass heard with entire and unalloyed devo- 
tion, according to the Council of Trent, which 
teaches that in consideration of the offering made 
in this holy sacrifice, God grants the gift of 
penitence, and then through the instrumentality 
of true penitence, pardons the most grievous, 
enormous, nay, and sins of infinite magnitude ; 
nevertheless, since neither the internal disposi- 
tion with which you assist at Mass is manifest 
to yourself, nor the satisfaction corresponding to 
it, you ought to secure yourselves as much as 
you possibly can by hearing many Masses, and 
hearing them with all possible devotion. And 
thrice happy will you be if you cherish great 
confidence in the mercy of God, that operates so 
wonderfully in this divine sacrifice ; thrice happy, 
indeed, if you assist as frequently as possible 

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at Mass with lively faith and devout recollection 
in your heart. Acting thus you may reason- 
ably cherish the hope of going direct to heaven 
without touching even the confines of Purgatory. 
To Mass, therefore, to Mass, and never let such 
a scandalous proposition as "a Mass more or a 
Mass less counts for nothing," be heard from 
your lips. 

XII. Our third debt is one of gratitude for the 
countless benefits that our most loving God has 
bestowed upon us. Contemplate in one accumula- 
tion all the gifts and all the graces which you have 
received from God ; so many gifts of nature and 
grace, body, soul, and senses, intellectual faculties, 
health, and life itself; add to all these the very life 
of His Son Jesus, and the death that He suffered 
for love of us ; and then say to yourself, does not 
all this increase a thbusand fold the debt that I 
owe to God ? But when will we ever be able to 
thank Him as we ought ? If the law of gratitude 
is observed by even the untamed beasts that have 
often changed their fierce nature into gentleness to 
those from whom they received a kindness, much 
more, surely, should it be observed by men gifted 
with the great powers of reason, and so eminently 
endowed by the divine liberality. But then, again,, 
so great is our poverty that we have no means of 
making a return for the least of the countless 
blessings which we have received from God ; be- 
cause as the very least of them all comes to us from 
the hands of a Majesty so exalted, and accompa- 
nied by infinite charity, it acquires an infinite value 
and obligates us to an infinite correspondence. 

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Ob, wretched we 1 if we cannot sustain the weight 
of one single benefit how will we be able to bear 
the still greater weight of benefits so great, nay, 
and so innumerable ? Are we then placed in the 
direful necessity of living and dying ingrates to 
our supreme benefactor ? No, no ! take heart and 
be of good cheer, for the manner of thanking our 
good God completely was taught us by holy David, 
who, beholding with prophetic eyes this divine 
sacrifice, clearly confesses that nothing save the 
holy Mass can render due thanks to God. " What 
shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits to 
me ?" asks the psalmist; and then answering him- 
self he continues : " I will take the cup of salva- 
tion," (according to another version) " I will raise 
on high the chalice of the Lord," — that is, I will 
offer a sacrifice most acceptable to Him, and with 
this alone I shall satisfy the debt of so many and 
so singular blessings. Bear in mind, likewise, that 
this sacrifice was instituted principally by our Re- 
deemer for this end, namely — to acknowledge the 
divine beneficence and to thank it ; and it is on 
this account that it is emphatically called Eucharist, 
which signifies an offering of thanks. It was He 
Himself who gave us the example, when at the 
Last Supper, before consecrating in that first Mass, 
He raised His eyes to heaven and thanked His 
heavenly Father. Oh, divine thanksgiving, that 
discovers to us the sublime end for which this tre- 
mendous sacrifice was instituted ; and invites us 
to conform ourselves to our supreme Head, in order 
that in every Mass at which we assist we may 
know how to avail ourselves of so great a treasure 

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by offering it in gratitude to our supreme Bene- 
factor. And that we may be more zealous in 
carrying out the divine intentions, let us always 
remember that all Paradise, the Virgin Mother 
and the angels and saints, exult when we offer this 
tribute of thanks to so great a Monarch. 

XIII. It is related of the venerable sister Fran- 
cesca Farnese, that her whole life was tormented 
by a thousand yearnings of love, because she felt 
that she knew not how to return adequate thanks 
to her Lord for the divine blessings with which 
He had covered her from head to foot. It was on 
one of those occasions, when she was lamenting 
her inability to offer to God the gratitude which 
He so eminently deserved, that the Virgin Mother 
appeared to her, and placed the heavenly Infant in 
her arms, saying, " Take Him, for He is yours, 
and with Him alone you will find it easy to dis- 
charge all your obligations." Oh, thrice blessed 
Mass, which places the Son of God not only in our 
arms and hands but also in our hearts! "A 
little child has been given to us,"* in order 
that we may be enabled to do that which exceeds 
our unassisted weakness ; for most certainly with 
His aid we will be able to discharge, fully and en- 
tirely, the debt of gratitude that we owe to God. 
Nay, in the holy Mass we give to God, in a parti- 
cular sense, something more than what He hath 
bestowed upon us ; if not in reality, at all events in 
appearance ; since once only the eternal Father 
has given us His divine Son in the incarnation, 

• Isaiah, is. 6. 

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and we give Him back to Him again countless 
times in this holy sacrifice. Hence, to a certain 
extent, it seems that we possess the advantage, 
not, indeed, in the quality of the gift, since nothing 
greater than the Son of God could have been given 
to us, but apparently by returning to Him so often 
and repeatedly the very identical gift. Oh, great 
and most loving God, would that each of us had 
countless tongues to return thee infinite thanks for 
this inestimable _ treasure of the holy Mass with 
which thou hast enriched us I Have you as yet 
learned to set due value on this -great treasure ? 
Ah, if hitherto it has lain a treasure hidden from 
you, now that you have begun to know its tran- 
scendent value, let a holy amazement overwhelm 
you, and repeat, over and over again, incessantly : 
Oh, treasure incomparable I oh, treasure beyond 
all price ! 

XIV. But the infinite benefit of the holy Mass 
does not end here ; for it enables us, moreover, to 
pay the fourth debt which we owe to God. I 
have already told you that that debt is one which 
obliges you to supplicate Him incessantly, and to 
ask new graces of Him. You are well aware that 
your necessities of soul and body are grievous and 
numerous ; and you know, besides, that you must 
needs have recourse to Him at every moment of 
your existence for His compassionating help, since 
He. and He alone, is the chief source of all our 
good, temporal as well as eternal. But, on the 
other hand, with what dispositions of heart or soul 
can you supplicate Him to give you additional aids 
of grace, seeing, as you do, the limitless ingratitude 

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you have exhibited to Him, notwithstanding the 
countless graces bestowed upon you ? Nay, have 
you not turned the very graces He gave you into 
so many insults and outrages against Him ? 
Nevertheless, let not your heart wax faint, but 
rather be of good hope ; because, if you have not 
deserved those graces our good Jesus has deserved 
them for you. In fact, for this end He has deigned 
to become in the Mass a pacifying Victim, that is, 
a supplicating sacrifice, in order to obtain through 
it (the Mass), from the eternal Father, all things 
we may require. Yes, yes, in the holy Mass our 
dear and beloved Jesus, who is our great high 
priest, recommends our humble petition to His 
Father, nay, prays for us and becomes our advo- 
cate. If we only remembered that the Virgin 
Mother unites her supplications with, ours to the 
eternal Father to obtain the graces which w,e need, 
how confident should we be that our prayers will 
be heard ? What confidence, what hope, therefore* 
should we not cherish when we bear in mind that 
in the Mass Jesus Himself prays for us, nay, offers 
His most precious blood to the eternal Father for 
us, and becomes our advocate ? Ob, thrice blessed 
Mass, thou art the exhaustless mine of all our 

XV. But we must go deep into this inesti- 
mable mine in order to discover the great treasures 
that it contains. Oh, what priceless jewels of grace, 
and virtue ! Oh, what super-excellent gifts does 
not the holy Mass obtain for us ! In the first place, 
it obtains for us all the spiritual graces and all the 
goods needful for the soul ; as, for example, true 

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sorrow and repentance for sins, victory over temp- 
tations, no matter whence they come, whether 
from evil associations with bad companions, or 
from the internal promptings of our own rebellious 
nature. Yes, the holy Mass obtains for us all 
those aids of grace which we need in order to be 
able to arise from the slough of sin, to stand erect, 
and walk onward in the ways of God. It likewise 
obtains for us innumerable holy inspirations and 
internal impulses, which dispose us to skake off 
tepidity, and stimulate us to work out our salva- 
tion with a fervour more ardent, with will more 
prompt, and intention purer and more meritorious. 
All these aids are accompanied by an inestimable 
treasure ; and, indeed, they are the most efficacious 
means of obtaining from God the grace of final 
perseverance (on which our eternal salvation de- 
pends), and also a moral certainty of eternal bea- 
titude in the life to come, so far as that certainty 
is vouchsafed to man during his mortal pilgrimage. 
Furthermore, it obtains for us temporal goods, in 
as far as they are conducive to the salvation of the 
soul, health of body, abundance, peace, with the 
exclusion of all the evils that are opposed to it, be 
they pestilence, earthquakes, wars, famine, perse- 
cutions, litigations, domestic hostilities, calumnies, 
and insults ; in a word, it liberates us from all 
evils and enriches us with all that is good. And 
to sum all in one short sentence — the holy Mass is 
the golden key of Paradise ; and since the eternal 
Father has given us this key, what is there of all 
His unbounded treasures that He can refuse us ? 
" He that spared not even His own Son, but deli- 

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vered Him up for us all, how hath He not also, 
with Him, given us all things?"* Hence, you 
may clearly understand with what good reason a 
certain holy priest was wont to say when speaking 
of the holy Mass : *• No matter how great the 
graces I ask of God for myself or others as often 
as I celebrate Mass, they all are a mere nothing 
compared to the offering that I make to Him ! M 
He, indeed, reasoned rightly when he said, " All 
the favors that I ask of God when celebrating 
holy Mass are created and finite things, whereas 
the gifts that I offer to Him are increated and 
infinite; and so, to balance the account equi- 
tably, I am the creditor and He is the debtor." 
Of course, he knew that the gift, and the power 
of offering the gift, came primarily" from God ; 
and, full of this conviction, he asked great graces 
of God and obtained still greater. And you, how 
is it that you are not alive to all this ? Why do 
you not ask great gains and graces ? I would 
advise and exhort you to beseech God, as often 
as you assist at Mass, to make you a great saint. 
Do you think that I advise you to ask too much? 
Well, I tell you that it is not too much. Has 
not our loving Lord and Master told us in His 
Gospel, that He is ready to bestow the kingdom of 
heaven on a man in return for a cup of cold 
water given for love of Him to a disciple ? How, 
therefore, could He refuse us a hundred heavens, 
did so many exist, in return for the blood of His 
blessed Son offered to Him in the Mass ? Why, 

Rom. viiU 

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therefore, would you hesitate to believe that He 
will bestow upon you every virtue and all the 
perfections that are required to make you a saint, 
yea, a great saint in heaven ? Oh, blessed Mass ! 
Let your hearts' wishes, therefore, be multiplied 
a thousand- fold, and ask as much as you will, 
always bearing in mind, that you are asking of a 
God who does not impoverish Himself by giving, 
and, consequently, the more you ask the more 
will He give you. 

XVI. But, have you reflected on this ? Besides 
the blessings we ask of our good God in the holy 
Mass, He is wont to grant us many others for 
which we have not asked Him. St. Jerome affirms 
this as certain : " Assuredly," says the Saint, " the 
Lord grants all the favours for which we petition 
Him in the Mass, provided they be suitable to us ; and 
what is far more admirable, He very often grants 
us that for which we do not petition Him, always 
provided that we place no obstacles to His holy de- 
signs." Hence, the Mass may be justly described 
as the sun of the human race, shedding its splen- 
dors on the good and bad ; nor does there exist on 
this earth a single soul so perverse, who, hearing 
holy Mass, does not derive some great benefit 
from it, often without even thinking of it We 
have a singular instance of this in a narrative 
which Saint Antoninus has left on record ; 'tis the 
following : " Two young men of dissolute habits 
went one day into a forest to amuse themselves, 
after one of them had assisted at the holy sacrifice 
of the Mass. Suddenly the sky was overcast with 
thick clouds, and amid the loud pealing of the 

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thunder, and the flashes of the lightning, they dis- 
tinctly heard a mysterious voice crying aloud, 
'Kill, kill!' when, lol the youth who had not 
heard Mass was struck down by the lightning and 
burnt to ashes. Terrified at this awful spectacle, 
his companion took to flight, hoping to save his 
life, when, to his horror, he heard the same voice 
repeating the word, ' Ball, kill!' Giving himself 
up for lost, he was every instant expecting the 
fatal blow, when he heard another voice replying : 
J cannot, I cannot, for to-day he heard 'The Word 
was made flesh,* and the Mass he heard wiU not suffer 
me to strike him dead." Oh, how often has God 
shielded you from death, or, at all events, from 
many and many a terrible danger, for the sake of 
the holy Mass at which you assisted 1 St. Gregory 
the Great assures you of this in his Book of Dia- 
logues. Hear what he says : " It is most indu- 
bitably certain, that whosoever hears Mass shall 
be secured from many and many a danger, both 
foreseen and unforeseen." And St. Augustine 
adds: "Whoever hears Mass devoutly shall be 
preserved from a sudden death, which is the most 
awful weapon with which divine justice punishes 
the sinner." "Lo,'' says the Saint, " here is the 
wonderful preservative against a sudden death, 
hear Mass every day, but hear it with all possible 
devotion." Whosoever bears about him such an 
invaluable preservative as this may live morally 
certain that he shall not be overtaken by such a 
terrible calamity. There is an opinion, attri- 
buted by some to Saint Augustine, namely, that 
a person does not grow older during the time he 

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assists at the celebration of the holy Mass, but, 
on the contrary, remains all the time in the same 
essential vigour in which he was at the beginning 
of the divine offering. I am not disposed to 
examine whether this be true or not ; but I affirm, 
that although a person assisting at holy Mass 
grows older, as far as age is concerned, he, never- 
theless, does not grow older in sin, because, as 
Saint Gregory tells us : " A well-disposed man, 
who hears holy Mass with the due attention, 
is preserved in the way of rectitude, while grace 
and merit increase in him, and he is making new 
acquisitions of virtue, which render him more and 
more acceptable to God." Nay, more, St. Bernard 
informs us, that "more is gained by one single 
Mass (and let ns understand him as speaking of its 
intrinsic value) than by distributing all your sub- 
stance among the poor, or going on pilgrimages to 
all the most venerable sanctuaries on this globe." 
Oh, infinite wealth of the holy Mass ! Let this 
truth strike deep root in your heart. By assisting 
at or celebrating a single Mass, considered in 
itself and its intrinsic worth, one may become more 
meritorious in the sight of God than he who, 
opening the treasury of his hoarded wealth, dis- 
tributes all that he possesses for the relief of the 
poor, or goes on a pilgrimage throughout the 
universe, visiting, with consummate devotion, 
the sanctuaries of Jerusalem, Rome, Compostella, 
Loretto, and every other besides. This grand 
truth is easily deduced from what St. Thomas, the 
Angelic Doctor, lays down in the following words : 
" The holy Mass contains all those fruits, all those 


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graces, nay, and all those infinite treasures which 
the Son of God scattered so abundantly over His 
Church in the bloody sacrifice of the cross." 
Now pause awhile, close the book, read no further 
for the present, but rather count one by one all 
those particular utilities or advantages of holy 
Mass. Ponder them well in silence, and then 
answer me, will you ever again have any diffi- 
culty in believing that a single Mass, viewed in 
its intrinsic worth and value, is of such efficacy 
that, according to the Doctors of the Church, it 
might have sufficed to obtain the salvation of the 
whole human race? Suppose that our Lord 
Jesus Christ had not suffered at all on Calvary, 
and that instead of the bloody sacrifice of the 
cross He had solely instituted the Mass, with ex- 
press command that this one single Mass should 
only be celebrated in all the world once. Well, 
then, had God been pleased to act thus, you must 
know that that one single Mass, celebrated by 
the humblest priest on earth, would have been 
most amply sufficient (considered m its intrinsic 
value, and so far as its own share in the work is 
concerned) to obtain from God the salvation of 
all mankind. Yes, yes; one Mass — admitting 
the case we have supposed — would have been 
sufficient to obtain the conversion of all the 
Turks, of all the Schismatics, in fine, of all the 
infidels, and even of all the bad Christians, 
closing the gates of hell against all sinners, and 
delivering from Purgatory all the souls that are 
being purged there. But, alas ! we, miserable 
and thoughtless beings, by our tepidity, feeble 

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devotion, and the scandalous immodesties which 
we commit over and over again while assisting at 
Mass, how much, oh! how much do we narrow 
its vast circumference, and render its inestimable 
value inefficacious. Would that I could ascend 
to the summit of the loftiest mountain and cry 
aloud, so that the whole world might hear me 
exclaiming, Foolish, foolish people, what are ye 
doing ? Why will you not hasten to the churches 
to assist at every Mass celebrated therein ? Why 
won't you imitate those holy angels, who, accord- 
ing to St. John Ghrysostom, descend in thousands 
from the heavens when Mass is being celebrated, 
and array themselves before our altars, covered 
with wings of holy awe, tarrying there during 
the august sacrifice, in order to intercede more 
efficaciously for us, knowing well that this is the 
most opportune time and the most propitious 
occasion that can be for obtaining favors from 
heaven ? Ah! are you not filled with shame and 
confusion when you call to mind how little value 
you have hitherto set upon the holy Mass ? Will 
you not blush for having often and often pro 
faned this thrice sanctified oblation ? But what 
shall I say of you, if, unhappily, you are one of 
those whose rash and impious tongues dare to 
say, " a Mass more or less counts for nothing f y 

XVII. And now, before concluding this in- 
struction, let me remind you, that it was not by 
mere accident I told you before, that a single 
Mass, as far as itself is concerned, and in the 
sense of its intrinsic value, is sufficient to clear 
Purgatory of all the souls that are being purified 

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there, nay, and to send them straight to Paradise ; 
since the Divine Sacrifice is not only beneficial 
to the souls of the defunct, as propitiatory and 
satisfactory of their penance, but it also avails 
them as supplicatory, or, in other words, it obtains 
for them remission of the Purgatorial pains. 
Hence, the usage of the Church, which not only 
offers the holy Mass for the souls in Purgatory, 
but prays in the holy Sacrifice for their liberation ; 
and in order that you may be excited to commi- 
serate those holy souls, excluded for awhile from 
the Beatific Vision, let me warn you, that the 
fire in which they are plunged is as devouring e 
fire, and nowise less dreadfully intense than that 
of hell. This assertion is made on the authority 
of St. Gregory the Great, who, in his Dialogues, 
informs us, that "the flames of Purgatory are, as it 
were, the instrument of divine justice, operating 
with such terrible power as to render the agony 
of the souls detained there intolerable. These 
pains," continues the Saint, " far exceed all the 
tribulations, nay, and martyrdoms that can he 
witnessed, felt, or imagined in this life ;" but far 
more excruciating to them is the pain of loss, or 
in other words, the temporary exclusion from 
the beatific vision of God, which, according to 
the Angelic Doctor (St Thomas), tortures them 
with an indescribable agony ; a fierce and burn- 
ing thirst to behold the Supreme Good that is 
denied to their yearnings. Here now enter into 
your own heart, and weigh well what I am going 
to say. If it so happened, that you beheld your 
own father or mother drowning in a pool of water. 

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and if you could save them by merely stretching 
out your hand, would you not consider yourself 
bound by the law of charity and of justice to stretch 
out your hand for their rescue? And how do you 
act ? Aided by the light of faith, you behold many 
and many a poor soul immersed in the sea of 
Purgatorial fires, nay, you behold, it may be, the 
souls of your nearest and dearest kinsfolk so cir- 
cumstanced, and yet, will you be so heartless as 
not to bear the trifling inconvenience of assisting 
devoutly at one Mass for their release, or the alle- 
viation of their agonies ? What sort of a heart 
have you ? Surely you cannot doubt, that even 
a single Mass can bring exceeding great comfort 
to those poor souls ? If (which God forbid) you 
have any doubt on this subject, let the words of 
St. Jerome, who deserves your firmest belief 
bring conviction to your soul, and awaken in it a 
holy compassion. Ponder well what this holy 
Doctor of the Church tells you. " The souls in 
Purgatory, for whose comfort the priest offers the 
holy Sacrifice of the Mass, suffer no torment while 
Mass is being celebrated" Nay more, he adds, 
that " at every Mass many souls are liberated from 
Purgatory, and ascend to Heaven. Bear in mind 
also, that this charity or holy compassion for the 
poor souls in Purgatory will redound to your 
own good ; and, although I might adduce many 
proofs in confirmation of this truth, I will confine 
myself to one well authenticated in the Life of 
St. Peter Damian. This holy servant of God, 
when a mere stripling, after losing his parents, 
was taken into the house of his brother, who 

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treated him very cruelly, compelling him to go 
barefoot, ragged, and subjecting him to every 
sort of the most squalid poverty. It so happened, 
that one day he found a trifling coin, I know not 
of what value. I leave you to imagine whether 
he rejoiced or not. As for himself, it seemed to 
him that he had lit upon a treasure. But how 
was he to spend it ? His pitiable condition, so 
poor, and . so cheerless, suggested to him many 
ways of employing the money which he had 
found ; but after pondering the matter over and 
over again in his mind, he resolved to give the coin 
to a priest, as an alms for celebrating Mass for the 
holy souls in Purgatory. Well, will you believe it ? 
from that day forward his fortune was changed for 
the better, for he was adopted by another brother 
of amiable disposition, who took him into his 
house, treated him as his own child, clothed him 
comfortably and sent him to school, whence he af- 
terwards came forth that great man and saint, an 
ornament to the Cardinalitial purple, and one of 
the most illustrious pillars of the Church. Now, 
you see how in one single Mass, which this holy 
personage caused to be celebrated at some 
trifling inconvenience, all this happiness had its 
origin. Oh ! most holy Mass, that at one and the 
same time benefits the living and dead. Oh 1 most 
holy sacrifice, so replete with blessings for time 
and for eternity ; for you must bear in mind, that 
the souls in Purgatory are so grateful to their 
benefactors, that on being admitted into heaven, 
they become their advocates, never ceasing in 
3ir holy petitions till they see them in pos- 

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session of glory. A singular proof of what I 
have here laid down is narrated in the history of a 
woman — a native of Rome — who for many years 
led a scandalous life, indulging her passions, and 
corrupting youth. Nevertheless, notwithstanding 
the infamy of her career, this unfortunate sinner 
very frequently caused Mass to be celebrated for 
the souls in Purgatory ; and this, indeed, was the 
only good she ever did. Now, as we may piously 
believe, it was these souls who interceded so 
effectually for their benefactress, that she one day 
was seized with heartfelt sorrow for her sins — 
sorrow so vehement that she abandoned wicked- 
ness, flung herself at the feet of a zealous priest, 
made a good general confession, and died soon 
afterwards with such dispositions as left no doubt 
of her eternal salvation. This grace of conver- 
sion and happy death, so truly marvellous, was 
attributed by many to the virtue of the Masses 
which she caused to be celebrated for the holy 
souls in Purgatory. Let us, therefore, cast off 
tepidity, and be on our guard, lest "publicans 
and harlots go into the kingdom of God before 

XVIII. If, unhappily, you were one of those 
hard-hearted misers, who not only lack common 
charity, neglecting to pray for their deceased 
friends, never assisting at a single Mass offered 
for the souls in Purgatory, and what is still 
worse, trampling on every dictate of justice, by 
refusing to pay the pious legacies bequeathed by 

• Matt «i. 81. 

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their predecessors for Masses ; or if you were one 
of those priests who accumulate large sums given 
for Masses, which they neglect to celebrate ; oh! 
with what earnestness I would say to your face, 
" Begone, for you are worse than the veriest 
devils ; aye, infinitely worse, since the demons 
torment none but reprobate souls, whereas you 
torment the souls of the elect. No, there is 
no confession that can avail you ; no absolution 
for you that is valid ; nay, no confessor that can 
absolve you, if you do not repent sincerely 
of so tremendous a crime, and if you do 
not satisfy, to the last farthing, the obligations 
that you have contracted with the departed. 
But you will say to me : " Father, I cannot — I 
have not the means/' What I you cannot, for- 
sooth ! you have not the means ! But you have 
means to make fashionable display — means to 
gratify luxurious and voluptuous tastes — means 
to lavish on rich feastings, in country-houses, 
balls, merry-makings, sometimes in the public- 
house, and sometimes in the horrid dens of vice ! 
But to satisfy your obligations to the living, and 
what is more, to the poor deceased, you have not 
the means, you cannot ! For shame ! But I now 
understand you rightly, and let me tell you that 
although there is no one on earth to take you to 
task for this robbery of the dead, you shall, one 
day, have to square the account with God, at the 
bar of His judgment. Go on frustrating the in- 
tentions of the deceased, appropriating to your- 
selves their pious bequests, the monies they be- 
queathed for Masses, but remember that the ora- 

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cle of the prophet has registered against you a 
terrible menace of misfortunes, sickness, worldly 
reverses, appalling calamities, and irreparable ruin 
of your substance, life, and honour. Yes, so hath 
God declared, and He will be true to His word. 
* They ate the sacrifices of the dead — thus they pro- 
voked him to anger. 9 '* Yes, yes! ruin, disgrace, 
and woes without remedy shall overtake those 
who do not satisfy their obligations to the dead ! 
With good reason, therefore, did the fourth 
Council of Carthage pronounce all those guilty 
of this crime excommunicated, branding them as 
murderers of their neighbours ; and let me add, 
that the Council of Valence declared that they 
should be expelled from the Church like infidels. 
And yet, this is by no means the severest punish- 
ment that God inflicts on those whose hearts 
cherish no love for their deceased brethren ; ah, 
no ! the full measure of their punishment is re- 
served for the other world, for St. James declares, 
that they shall be judged by God with all the 
rigour of His justice — without a single particle of 
mercy, because they showed no mercy to the poor 
departed. «' Judgment without mercy to him 
that hath not done mercy . w f Nay, more, God 
will permit that their successors shall pay them 
in the same coin ; that is, their last wishes shall 
not be fulfilled, neither shall the Masses, for 
which they have provided in their wills, be 
celebrated ; or if celebrated, God will not accept 
them for their souls' sake, but will turn them 
to the relief and release of deserving souls, 

• Ps. ov. f St. James, If. 13. 

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who, during their mortal term, had pitying and 
prayerful hearts for their deceased brethren. It is 
related in the Chronicles of our Order, that one 
of our friars appeared, after death, to a compa- 
nion, and showed him the marks of the bitter 
punishment he had to endure in Purgatory, par- 
ticularly because he had been negligent in cele- 
brating Masses for his deceased Brothers. He 
likewise declared, that all that had been done for 
him up to that moment was of no avail to him, 
and that the very Masses which had been offered 
for his repose afforded no benefit to him, because 
God, in punishment of his negligence, had applied 
them to other souls, who, while on earth, acted 
compassionately to their brethren in Purgatory. 

XIX. Before concluding this instruction, let 
me, on bended knees, and with hands uplifted, 
implore all who read this little work not to close 
it till they have made a firm resolution of hence- 
forth employing all possible diligence in assisting 
at Mass, and causing to be celebrated as many 
Masses as your means will permit, not only for 
the souls of the deceased, but also for your own. 
There are two motives which should determine 
you to adopt this counsel : the first, that you may 
obtain the blessing of a holy death, for it is the 
unalterable opinion of pious and learned men, 
that there is no more efficacious or desirable means 
for obtaining such a happiness than the holy 
Mass. It is related that Christ, our Lord, re- 
vealed to Saint Matilde, that whosoever, during 
life, has been accustomed to hear Mass devoutly, 
shall, in the hour of death, be comforted by the 

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presence of Angels and his holy advocates, who 
will defend him triumphantly from all the as- 
saults of the infernal fiends. Oh, what a happy 
and holy death must be yours, if, during life, you 
shall have endeavoured to hear Mass as often as 

The second motive that should animate you is, 
that you may get a speedy release from Purga- 
tory and wing your way to eternal glory, since 
there can be no surer means of obtaining from 
God a grace so precious as that of going straight 
to Paradise without touching Purgatory, or at 
least of not being detained long there in puri- 
fying fames, than Indulgences and frequent 
celebrations of the holy Sacrifice. As for Indul- 
gences, the Popes have drawn largely on the 
treasury of the Church by granting them co- 
piously to all those who hear Mass with due 
devotion. Then as to the efficacy of the most 
holy sacrifice of the Mass in hastening the re- 
mission of the pains of Purgatory, what I have 
said heretofore is amply sufficient. But if you 
need anything more on this head let me remind 
you of the example and authority of that great 
servant of God, John d'Avila, the oracle of 
Spain, who, being interrogated in his last agony 
what he most longed for, and what he most ear- 
nestly wished to be done for him after his death, 
replied, " Masses, Masses !" And now, before 
dismissing this part of the subject, allow me to 

give you an advice which is of great moment, 
ause all the Masses which you would wish to 
be offered for you after your death to be. cele- 

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brated while you are still living in this world. 
Do not trust to those who survive you for the 
performance of this holy work. I am the more 
anxious to impress this on you, because St. An- 
selm affirms, that a single Mass heard or cele- 
brated for your soul during life may be more 
beneficial to you than a thousand celebrated after 
your death. Let me quote the saint's words: 
To hear even one Mass devoutly during onis life, or 
to give an alms for having it celebrated, is a far 
better thing than to bequeath alms for the celebration 
of a thousand after your decease. A certain 
wealthy Genoese merchant, who, at his death, 
left nothing in suffrage for his soul, set proper 
value on this grand truth. Every one wondered 
that a man so rich, so pious, and so generous 
to all, could have been so cruel to himself at the 
hour of death, But after his interment there 
was found a little book, in his own handwriting, 
which showed how much he had done for his soul 
during life. Let me copy some of the entries : 
" Masses which I have caused to be celebrated 
for my soul, 2,000 lire; for dowries to poor girls, 
10,000 ; for a certain pious institution, 200, &c, 
8tc." At the end of this little memorandum he 
wrote as follows : " He who wishes to do good, 
let him do it while he is living ; nor trust to 
those who may survive him." A very trite pro- 
verb tells us, that "a taper before gives more 
light than a torch behind." Let this edifying 
example be graven deeply on your heart, and 
ponder well the excellence and advantages of the 
holy Mass. Be amazed at the blindness in which 

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you have lived hitherto, not setting due value on 
this treasure so great, so immense ; a treasure, 
indeed, which has lain for you, alas ! too long 
hidden. But now that you have learned its value, 
dismiss for ever from your mind, and still more 
from your lips, such scandalous propositions as 
" A Mass more or less counts for nothing," 
" 'Tis a hardship to be obliged to assist at Mass 
on holidays." " The Mass of such a priest is as 
long as that of Holy Week : when he approaches 
the altar I get up and quit the church." Make 
a firm resolution to hear henceforth as many 
Masses as you can, and take heed that you hear 
them with due devotion. And in order that you 
may be enabled to do so, make use of the follow- 
ing practical and devout method which I have 
arranged for you. May God bless you. 



L It was the opinion of St. John Chrysostom, 
as we have already stated in the foregoing in- 
structions (and this opinion is approved and con- 
firmed by St. Gregory, in the Fourth Book of 
Dialogues), that while the priest is celebrating 
holy Mass the skies open, and multitudinous 
legions of angels come down from Heaven to 
assist at the divine sacrifice. And St. Nilus, 

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abbot and disciple of the said St. John Chry- 
sostom, protested that he beheld, while the holy 
Doctor was celebrating, legions on legions of those 
celestial spirits assisting the sacred ministers dur- 
ing the performance of this most holy function. 
Now, let me point out to you the best method of 
assisting with great profit at holy Mass. Ap- 
proach the church as if you were approaching 
Calvary, and prostrate yourself before the altar 
as you would before the throne of God in the 
society of his holy angels. See, therefore, how 
much modesty, reverence, and attention is re- 
quired of us in order that we may gain the fruit 
and blessings which God is wont to grant to 
those who honour with devout deportment (inter- 
nal and external) mysteries so sanctified. 

II. We read that while the Jews were cele- 
brating the sacrifices of the old law (which were, 
indeed, nothing but sacrifices of oxen, lambs, and 
other animals), it was edifying to witness with what 
earnestness, decorum, and silence, the entire body 
of the people assisted thereat; and although 
the multitude of the people was countless, inde- 
pendently of the seven hundred ministers who 
sacrificed, nevertheless, so still and solemn was 
the behaviour of all, that one would have ima- 
gined that the temple was empty, not as much as 
a whisper or a sigh being heard. Now, if those 
old shadowy sacrifices, which were nothing more 
than figures and types of the tremendous sacri- 
fice of the new law, deserved so great re- 
spect and veneration, how great should be your 
silence, devotion, and attention, during the 

y VjVJD^I^ 


celebration of holy Mass, in which the very 
Immaculate Lamb, the Word made Flesh, is 
oftered up for us. No one was more deeply 
impressed by this reflection than the great St. 
Ambrose, who (as Gesarius relates), when cele- 
brating the divine mysteries, after reading the 
Gospel, used to turn to the people and exhort 
them, one and all, to devout recoliectedness, com- 
manding them at the same time to observe pro- 
foundest silence, not only by avoiding the merest 
whispering, but also by abstaining from coughing 
and every other sort of noise. And, indeed, the 
people paid attention to his instruction ; and 
every one who assisted at the Mass he celebrated 
felt himself overawed by a holy dread, and was 
so intensely moved that he derived great fruit 
and increase of grace. 

III. Such is the scope of this little work, 
whose only aim is to enlighten and excite every 
one who deigns to peruse it to embrace, with 
fervor of spirit, the practice and method of 
assisting at Mass which is here described. But, 
since the methods of assisting at Mass, which 
have been hitherto taught, are so various, each 
and all of them devout and most holy, as is 
evidenced by the numerous little books published 
for the greater benefit of the faithful, it is not 
my intention to do violence to your free wilJ, 
but rather to leave you to select that one which is 
more agreeable to your devout inclination and 
capacity. I will merely act the part of your 
Guardian Angel, by suggesting to you the most 
profitable method, namely, that which, in my 

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humble judgment, may prove to be the most 
useful and easiest. With this end in view, I will 
divide the whole matter into three classes. 

IV. The first method of hearing holy Mass is 
that followed by those who, with their prayer book 
before them, accompany all the actions of the 
priest with the profoundest attention ; reciting at 
each of them a vocal prayer, which they have in 
their book, and in this way they employ the 
whole time of holy Mass reading; and most 
assuredly, this is a most excellent method of 
assisting at Mass, nay, and a most profitable one, 
provided the reading be united with a profound 
consideration of the sacred mysteries. But as it 
involves an entire restraint, obliging the person 
assisting at the sacrifice to fix his mind on each 
of the holy ceremonies performed by the priest, 
and then to return with his eye to the book, in 
order to read the prayer corresponding to the 
mystery, it becomes in practice very wearying, 
and I think that few persevere in this method, or 
continue to adopt it for any considerable length 
of time, although in itself most useful. The 
weakness of our minds, which easily become 
overpowered by being obliged to reflect on each 
of the various actions performed by the priest at 
the altar, will account sufficiently for what I have 
said on this head. Nevertheless, let those who 
find it good for them, and derive spiritual profit 
by it, continue to observe it, particularly as God 
will not allow such a laborious application of the 
mind to be deprived of its fitting reward. 

V. The second method of hearing holy Mass 

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is that observed by those who, using no books, 
and abstaining from every sort of reading during 
the time of the holy sacrifice, fix their mental 
eye, enlightened by faith, on Jesus Crucified, and 
leaning against the tree of the cross, gather from 
it fruits of a sweet contemplation, spending the 
whole of that time in pious interior recollection, 
and sweetly meditating the sacred mysteries of 
our Lord's passion, which is not only represented, 
but is mystically carried out in that holy sacri- 
fice. It is a fact beyond all doubt, that. those 
who centre their mental faculties in God are 
enabled to perform heroic acts of Faith, Hope, 
Charity, and other virtues, and it is likewise 
certain that this method of hearing Mass is far 
more perfect than the first, nay, and more sweet 
and attractive. We have a happy illustration of 
this in the history of a good lay-brother, who 
used to say, that when hearing Mass he read only 
three letters. The first was black, that is to say, 
the consideration of his sins, which awakened 
in him confusion and repentance, and this occu- 
pied his meditations from the commencement of 
Mass to the Offertory. The second (letter) was red, 
that is to say, the meditation of the Passion of 
our Lord, contemplating that most precious blood 
which Jesus shed for us on Calvary, by suffering 
a death so full of agony, and in this he occupied his 
mind to the Communion. The third letter was 
white, because while the priest was communi- 
cating, he united himself mentally with Jesus in 
the sacrament, thus making a spiritual commu- 
nion, after which he remained all absorbed in 
• E 

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God, meditating on the glory for which be hoped 
as fruit of that divine sacrifice. This simple- 
minded man heard Mass with great perfection, 
and I would to God that all might learn of him 
knowledge so sublime. 

VI. The third method of hearing holy Mass 
with profit is to observe a middle course, that is 
to say, one which does not require the reading of 
many vocal prayers, as is laid down in the first, 
nor a very exalted spirit of contemplation, to 
which those aspire who follow the second. But 
if you consider it rightly, you will find that it is 
the one more in accordance with the spirit of the 
Church, which encourages us to unite our inten- 
tions to those of the celebrating priest, who is 
bound to offer the sacrifice for the four ends in- 
dicated in the preceding Instruction, this being, 
as St. Thomas (the Angelic) informs us, the most 
efficacious means of paying to God the four 
great debts which we owe to Him. Now, as you 
exercise, to a certain extent, the function of priest 
when you assist at Mass, you should be influenced, 
as much as possible, by the consideration of the 
four ends already indicated ; and nothing will be 
more easy to you than this, if you only practise, 
during the time of holy Mass, the four offerings 
which shall be described to you hereafter. Here 
is the precise practical rule for you, if you are 
really anxious to realise it. Carry this little 
book about with you till you have learned the 
said offerings, or at least till you are well imbued 
with the meaning of the same, since it is not im- 
portant that you should adhere strictly to the 


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mere words; and as soon as Mass is begun, 
while the priest humbles himself at foot of the 
altar, saying the Confiteor, fyc, do you also (after 
a brief examination of conscience) excite in your 
heart an act of true contrition, asking of God 
pardon for your sins, and invoking the assistance 
of the Holy Ghost and of the Blessed Virgin, 
that you may be enabled to hear that Mass with 
entire reverence and devotion. Then divide it 
into four distinct periods of time, in order to pay 
during each of them the said four great debts, 
according to the following method and form. 

VII. In the first period, which will be from 
the beginning to the Gospel, you will endeavour 
to pay the first debt, namely, of honoring and 
praising the majesty of God, which is worthy of 
infinite honor and infinite praise. Humble your- 
self, therefore, with Jesus, and sinking into the 
abyss of your own nothingness, acknowledge 
sincerely that you are a most miserable nothing 
before the majesty of God, and thus humbled 
interiorly, and also with a composed and modest 
exterior (for so should you always comport your- 
self at holy Mass), say : — " Ah, my God ! I adore 
Thee for my Lord and the Master of my soul, 
I protest that all I am and have are Thy gifts. 
And, because Thy majesty merits infinite honor 
and homage, I, who am a poor, miserable crea- 
ture, utterly incapable of paying the great debt 
which I owe to Thee, offer to Thee the humilia- 
tions and homage which Jesus presents to Thee 
on the altar ; what Jesus does, I also intend to 
do. I humble and prostrate myself with Him 

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before Thy majesty. I adore Thee with the same 
humiliations which Jesus offers to Thee. I am 
filled with joy and delight in reflecting that Jesus 
gives Thee, for me, infinite honor and homage." 
Then close the book, and continue exciting many 
internal acts of desire, that God should thus be 
infinitely honored ; repeat them over and over 
again, frequently saying : " Yes, yes, my God, I 
am filled with joy for the infinite honor that re- 
dounds to thy Majesty from this most holy sacri- 
fice. I am enraptured at it, and rejoice for it 
with all my powers, mental and physical." Nor 
need you adhere to the words, since it is better 
for you to use the language which your own 
devotion will dictate, while you are filled with 
recollection and united to your God. Oh! how 
fully will you pay your first debt by assisting at 
the first part of the Mass in this manner. 

VIII. In the second period of time, which 
shall be from the Gospel to the Elevation, you 
will pay your second debt. Reflecting for a 
moment on the excessive enormity of your sins, 
and seeing the immense obligation which you have 
incurred by them to the divine Justice, say 
with heartfelt humility, *» Behold, my God, the 
traitor who has so often rebelled against Thee. 
Ah! with a sorrowful heart, and with all the 
affections of my soul, I abhor and detest my 
most grievous sins, and I offer for them the same 
satisfaction which Jesus presents to Thee on the 
altar. I offer to Thee all the merits of Jesus, 
the blood of Jesus, Jesus entirely, God and man, 
who is here immolated again for me. And, 

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since my Jesus Himself is, on this altar, my 
. mediator and my advocate, and since, with His 
most precious blood, He implores pardon for me, 
I unite with the cry of His blood, and supplicate 
mercy for all my sins. The blood of Jesus cries 
for mercy, and my sorrowful heart also implores 
mercy. Ah ! my dear God, if my tears do not 
move Thee, let at least the groans of my Jesus 
excite Thy pity. Why should He not obtain for 
me that mercy which He obtained for the whole 
human race upon the cross ? Yes, I hope that 
for the sake of that most precious blood, Thou 
wilt pardon all my most grievous sins, which I will 
continue to bewail till my last breath.'' Having 
shut the book, repeat many of these acts of true, 
intimate, and profound contrition. Let your heart's 
affections have free course ; and without noise of 
words but in your inmost heart, say to Jesus, u My 
dearest Jesus, give me the tears of Peter, the contri- 
tion of Magdalene, and the tender sorrow of the 
saints, who, although at one period sinners, were 
afterwards true penitents, in order that during 
this Mass I may obtain a general pardon for all 
my sins!" Entirely absorbed in God, make 
many acts of this sort, aDd rest assured, that you 
shall thus most fully discharge all the debts 
which you have contracted by so many grievous 

IX. In the third period of time, which shall 
be from the Elevation to the Communion, calling 
to mind the great and important blessings re- 
ceived from God, you will, in return for them, 
offer to Him a gift of infinite value, namely, 

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the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Then 
you will invite all the angels and all the saints, 
to thank God for you in the following or in some 
similar manner: — "Behold me, O my most 
loving God! loaded with the general and par- 
ticular benefits which Thou hast bestowed, and 
wilt bestow upon me in time and eternity. I 
know that Thy mercies to me have been and are 
infinite. But I am ready to pay Thee for all, 
even to the last farthing. Behold the tribute of 
my gratitude, the payment which I offer for all 
Thy goodness, is this Divine blood, this most 
precious body, this innocent victim, which I pre- 
sent to Thee by the hands of the priest. I am 
certain that this oblation is sufficient to pay for 
all the gifts Thou hast conferred upon me ; this 
gift of infinite value is an equivalent for all the 
favours I have ever received, now receive, or ever 
may receive from Thee. Ah ! ye holy angels, and 
all ye blessed spirits, help me to thank my God ; 
and, in thanksgiving for His great benefits, offer to 
Him not only this Mass, but also all the Masses that 
are now celebrated throughout the whole world, 
that His loving goodness may be fully recompensed 
for all the graces which He has bestowed, and is 
to bestow upon me now and for eternity. Amen." 
Oh, how pleasing to our good God will be such 
a heartfelt thanksgiving! Oh, how much will 
He be delighted with this sole oblation which, 
because it is of infinite value, has greater efficacy 
than all other offerings singly or collectively I 
And in order to awaken deeper and livelier 
devotion in your heart, invite all the choirs of 

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heaven to come to your assistance ; nay, implore 
all those saints to whom you are most devout to 
intercede for you, and say from the depths of 
your heart, «' Oh, all my holy patrons and inter- 
cessors, thank the goodness of God for me, so 
that I may not die with the sin of my ingratitude 
on my soul. Ah, beseech and supplicate Him to 
accept the weak throbbings of my heart, and to 
look benignly on the loving thanksgivings which 
my Jesus offers to Hira for me in this Mass." 
Far from being satisfied with expressing yourself 
thus once only, repeat it over and over again, 
and rest convinced that by this means you will 
do much towards satisfying entirely this great 
debt. But in order to make success still more 
certain, you should, every morning, make the act 
of offering, which begins, " My eternal God" (I 
give it at the end of this little book), offering 
with this intention all the Masses that are being 
celebrated at the time throughout the entire 

X, In the fourth period of time, which shall be 
from the Communion to the end of the Mass, after 
having communicated spiritually, while the priest 
is communicating sacramentally, in the manner 
which I will point out at the end of this chapter, 
contemplate God within your own heart, and 
then take courage to ask of Him many graces, 
being convinced that at that time Jesus unites 
Himself with you, nay, prays and supplicates for 
you. Therefore expand your heart, and ask not 
things of trifling value, but rather ask great 
graces ; for, exceeding great, indeed, is the obla- 

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tion of the Divine Son which you present to tjie 
Father. Address Him, then, with humbled heart 
in this manner, " My dear God, I acknowledge 
that I am utterly unworthy of thy favour; I 
confess my infinite unworthiness, and that, for 
my manifold and grievous sins, I do not deserve 
to be heard. But how canst Thou refuse to hear 
Thy Divine Son, who, on this altar, prays for 
me, and offers for me His blood and His life ? 
Ah ! my most loving God, hear the prayers of 
this my great Advocate, and, for his sake, grant 
me all the graces which Thou knowest to be 
necessary to secure the great affair of my eternal 
salvation. I am now encouraged to ask of Thee 
a general pardon of all my sins and the gift of 
final perseverance. Trusting in the prayers of 
my Jesus, I ask of Thee, O my God ! all virtue, 
in an heroic degree, and all the efficacious helps 
necessary to make me truly a saint. I ask of 
Thee the conversion of all infidels and sinners, 
and particularly of those who are related to me. 
I ask of Thee the liberation, not of one soul 
only, but of all the souls in Purgatory; release 
them all, I beseech Thee, so that, through the 
efficacy of this divine sacrifice, that dungeon 
where they are being purified may be emptied. 
Convert the souls of all those who sojourn in 
this miserable world, till it becomes for Thee 
a paradise of delights; and grant that, after 
having loved, reverenced, and praised Thee here 
below, we may finally come to praise and 
bless Thee for all eternity. Amen." Ask, 
also with fervor, blessings for yourselves, for 

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your children, and for your friends, kinsmen, 
and acquaintances ; ask relief for all your neces- 
sities, spiritual as well as temporal ; ask for the 
fulness of all good, and release from all evils, for 
our holy Church ; and do not ask with tepidity, 
but with great conBdence, and rest assured that 
your prayers, united with those of Jesus, will 
most certainly be heard. When Mass is ter- 
minated make an act of thanksgiving, as in the 
agimus tibi gratias, to God, and leave the church 
with heart contrite as if you were descending the 
hill of Calvary. Now answer me this question : 
If all the Masses at which you have assisted 
hitherto had been heard by you in this manner, 
would not your souls have been enriched with 
treasures beyond counting? Oh, what a loss 
you have sustained while you assisted at the un- 
bloody sacrifice, looking curiously about you, 
watching who came in and went out of the 
church ; nay, sometimes whispering to one ano- 
ther, half asleep, or, at most, muttering over a 
few vocal prayers without the least interior re- 
collection ! Resolve, therefore, to adopt this 
most sweet and easy method of hearing Mass 
with fruit, which consists in discharging the 
four great debts which you have contracted with 
God ; and rest thoroughly convinced, that in a 
very little time you will earn for yourself a rich 
accumulation of Ihe choicest graces. Adopt this 
method and it will never again be your misfor- 
tune to say, " A Mass more or less counts for 

XL As regards the way of making a spiritual 



communion while the priest is communicating in 
the Mass, it is necessary that you should be in- 
formed of what the holy Council of Trent teaches 
on this subject ; namely, that we can receive the 
most holy Sacrament in three ways : the first, only 
sacramentally ; the second, only spiritually ; the 
third, both sacramentally and spiritually. Here 
I will not speak of the first (way), that is to say; 
of the communion of those who, like Judas, re- 
ceive the body of the Lord unworthily ; nor of 
the third, which is common to all those who com- 
municate worthily, or in the state of grace ; but 
I will speak of the second, which is peculiar to 
those who, as the holy Council says, not being 
able to receive the body of the Lord sacramen- 
tally, receive it spiritually, with acts of a lively 
faith and a fervent charity, and with a burning 
desire to unite themselves to that supreme good, 
thus rendering themselves capable of receiving 
the fruit of this divine Sacrament. In order, 
therefore, to facilitate such a holy practice, I pray 
you to ponder well on what I am going to say. 
At the moment when the priest is about to com- 
municate in holy Mass, do you (observing at the 
same time, a perfect composure, external, as well 
as internal), excite in your heart an act of sincere 
contrition, and humbly striking your breast in 
acknowledgment of your un worthiness to receive 
so great a grace, make all those acts of love, self- 
offering, and humility, with all the rest that you 
are accustomed to make when you communicate 
sacramentally, and then yearn, with an earnest 
longing, to receive your adorable Jesus who has 

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deigned to veil Himself in the Sacrament for your 
spiritual and temporal welfare. And in order to 
make your faith still more lively, imagine that 
the Mother of God, or some one of your patron 
saints administers the adorable particle to you ; 
think that you are actually receiving it, and after 
embracing Jesus in your heart, say to him over 
and over again with heart-felt words dictated by 
love, u Come, dearest Jesus, come into this, my 
poor unhappy heart, come and satiate my long- 
ings: come and sanctify my soul: come, my 
sweetest Jesus, come !" And having said this, or 
something like it, remain silent, contemplating 
your good God within you, and — just as if yon 
had received sacramentally — adore Him, and thank 
Him ; nay, and make all those acts which you 
are accustomed to make after the sacramental 

Now you are to bear in mind, that this blessed 
and holy spiritual communion (alas, so little prac- 
tised by Christians in our times !) is a treasure 
which enriches the soul with inestimable wealth ; 
and, as very many spiritual writers inform us,* it 
is so useful that it is capable of producing the 
very same graces which sacramental communion 
produces, and, in some instances, greater. For 
although, in fact, sacramental communion (thai 
is to say, when you receive the adorable particle 
really), is, of its own nature, capable of producing 
greater fruit, because being the Sacrament, it 

* Among others, Father Rodriguez, Christian Perfection, p- 
2, Tract 8, c. 15. 

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possesses virtue ex opere operate;* nevertheless, a 
soul can make a spiritual communion with so 
much humility, love, and devotion, as to deserve 
greater grace than another soul which communi- 
cates sacramerUdlly, but without dispositions so 
entirely excellent. 

Our divine Redeemer has so manifested his 
delight at this practice of spiritual communion, 
that on several occasions, and with signal mira- 
cles, He has deigned to give willing ear to the 
pious longings of his chosen servants ; sometimes 
administering the holy communion to them with 
His own hands, as was the case with blessed 
Clare of Montefalco, Saint Catherine of Siena, and 
Saint Liduina ; sometimes by the hands of angels, 
as to my patron, St. Bonaventure, called the 
Seraphic Doctor, and to the two holy bishops, 
Onoratus and Fir minus ; and sometimes also 
through the medium of the blessed Mother of 
God, who wished to administer the holy commu- 
nion with her own hands to the blessed Silvester. 
Nor should we wonder at these prodigies of love, 
because spiritual communion inflames the soul 
with love of God, nay, unites it to God, and dis- 
poses it to receive His most signal favours. How, 
then, with this truth so plainly before you, can 
you continue to be so cold and insensible ? and 
what excuse can you allege to exempt yourself 
from such a devout practice? Ah! make your 
choice at once, and, furthermore, bear in mind 
that this holy spiritual communion gives you 
this advantage over the sacramental communion, 

* i.e., by ils own intrinsic efficacy. 

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that the latter can be made only once each day, 
while the spiritual communion may be repeated 
at all the Masses at which you assist. Besides, 
it may be made even when you are not at Mass, 
at morning, mid-day, evening, or night ; in the 
church, in your own house, without asking per- 
mission of your confessor. In a word, so often 
as you reduce to practice what I have here laid 
down for your instruction, so often will you make 
a spiritual communion, and by ihis holy custom 
you will enrich yourself with graces, and merits, 
and every good. 

Here, then, I have now unfolded to you the 
object of this unpretending little book. Its sim- 
ple aim is to kindle in the hearts of all those who 
peruse it a holy desire, that there may be intro- 
duced into the Catholic world, the devout custom 
of hearing holy Mass every day with the most 
solid piety and devotion, and that at each time 
you assist at the holy sacrifice each and all of 
you may make a spiritual communion. Oh, 
what blessings would come upon you if this end 
were attained ! Then, indeed, I should hope to 
behold throughout the whole universe, all that 
holy fervour which was witnessed in that golden 
age of the primitive Church, when the faithful 
assisted every day at the holy sacrifice, and every 
day communicated eacramen tally. If you are 
not worthy of such a holy privilege, at least assist 
at Mass every day, and every day make a spiri- 
tual communion. If I succeed in winning you 
who peruse these pages, I will imagine that I 

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have gained the entire world, and I will regard 
my humble labour as well expended. But in 
order to remove once and for ever all the excuses 
which some persons are wont to make for not 
hearing holy Mass, the following chapter will 
display to your view various examples applicable 
to persons of every condition, to prove that if they 
deprive themselves of so great a good it is through 
their own fault, their tepidity and want of zeal 
in serving God ; and that the remorse which such 
shortcomings must cause them at the hour of 
death shall indeed be great. 



Numberless are the excuses which those who 
attend holy Mass rductantly allege for their tepi- 
dity. You will find them wholly devoted to 
their avocations, all-absorbed in worldly pursuits, 
and intent on promoting the most sordid interests. 
For these every sort of fatigue is trifling ; nor is 
there any amount of labour which they are not 
willing to endure, while for assisting at the holy 
sacrifice, which is the greatest affair of all, you 
will find them heedless and cold, with a hundred 
frivolous pretexts at hand, such as, serious occu- 
pations, weak health, family broils, want of time, 

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multiplicity of engagements, &c. In a word, if holy 
Church did not compel them, under pain of mortal 
sin, to hear Mass at least on festivals, God 
knows whether they would ever enter a church or 
bend a knee before an altar ! Oh, shame ! Oh, 
bitter disgrace to our times! Wretched we! How 
have we declined from the fervour of the early 
Christians, who, as has been related above, 
assisted at the holy sacrifice every day, and 
refreshed themselves with the bread of angels by 
communicating sacramentally. And yet, they 
were not exempt from business and toil ; nay, by 
this very means, they were enabled to attend to 
their worldly concerns properly, thus promoting 
their every interest, spiritual and temporal. 
Blind world, when wilt thou open thine eyes to 
an error so palpable ! Christian soul, arouse thee 
— 6hake off tepidity ! and let this be thy most 
cherished, thy most constant devotion — to hear 
holy Mass every day, and to make a spiritual 
communion at its celebration. In order to secure 
a consummation so holy, I know no means more 
efficacious than example ; for it is an indubitable 
maxim that we are influenced by example ; and 
everything comes easy to us when we see it 
practised by our equals and acquaintances. 
"What,'' said St. Augustine, rebuking his own 
waywardness, " are you not able to do what has 
been done by those men and those women ?"* I 
will, therefore, lay before you various examples 
relating to distinct classes of persons, and by this 
means I trust to be able to gain you alL 

• Conf. 1. 8, c. xi. 

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§. 1. 


Awaken, oh! ye priests of Christ, and 
take heed, in the first place, that the eye of your 
intention be pure and entirely fixed on God. 
For this purpose I adjure you, before you com- 
mence Mass, to renew, at least mentally, the four 
ends already pointed out and prescribed by the An- 
gelic Doctor, and in the " Memento,* after apply- 
ing the holy sacrifice for those to whom you are 
under obligation, make succinctly those offerings 
to the Most High, directing them to those holy 
ends for which the Mass has been instituted — 
that is, to honour God, to thank Him, to make 
satisfaction to Him, and to obtain from His good- 
ness all the blessings which we need; observe all 
possible diligence in celebrating the adorable 
Sacrifice with profoundest modesty, recollected- 
ness, and attention, reverently, without haste, 
taking ample time to pronounce all the words 
correctly and distinctly, and performing all the 
sacred ceremonies with that gravity and decorum 
which is required of you. Now I tell you, that 
if the words are not pronounced distinctly, and if 
the holy ceremonies are not performed with 
gravity and strict observance of the Rubric, instead 
of being an aid to piety and religion your neglect 
or indifference will scandalise those who assist at 
the sacred function. It should be the celebrant's 
chiefest care to observe the most unbroken inte- 

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rior recollectedne88, attending to the sense of the 
words which he pronounces, relishing their signi- 
fication and spirit, and making in his inmost 
heart acts of various virtues, corresponding to 
their holy inspirations. Thus will the priest be 
enabled to pour, as it were, additional devotion 
into the hearts of those who assist at the holy 
Sacrifice, and thus will he be enabled to derive 
great profit from it for himself. Having pre- 
mised all this, and taking it for granted that 
every priest acknowledges the excellence of this 
method of celebrating, I would exhort them, one 
and all, to make a firm and inflexible resolution 
of offering the divine sacrifice every morning; 
for if the laity were accustomed to communicate 
daily in the time of the primitive Church, with 
how much more reason are we to believe that 
the priest should celebrate daily ? " Daily do I 
immolate the Immaculate Lamb to God," said St. 
Andrew to the tyrant, and St. Cyprian, in one of 
his Epistles, writes, "We, priests, who daily immo- 
late the sacrifice to God." St. Gregory the Great, 
writing of St. Cassius, Bishop of Narni, informs 
us, that God commanded one of the holy prelate's 
.chaplains to tell him, that he did well by cele- 
brating the holy sacrifice daily ; that his devotion 
was grateful in His sight, and that He would 
reward it amply in heaven. Now, on the other 
haifd, what are we to say of those priests who, 
through merest negligence, omit the daily oblation 
of the holy Mass ? Who could ever describe 
adequately the great loss which they inflict on 
the Church ? Let the maxim of the Venerable 

, F 

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Bede be graven on your heart, " The priest who, 
without a legitimate impediment, fails to celebrate 
daily, deprives, as far as it is in his power to do 
so, the holy Trinity of praise and glory, the angels 
of joy, sinners of pardon, the just of aid and 
grace, the sonls in Purgatory of suffrage and 
alleviation, the Church of immense benefit, and 
himself of medicine and cure." Where will you 
find me a robber so unequalled, who, at one swoop, 
commits such extensive plunder, as does the 
priest, who, without a legitimate impediment, 
neglects to celebrate, and thus despoils the living 
and the dead, nay, the whole Church, of so many 
blessings ? Nor, will it avail him to urge, that 
he is overwhelmed by occupations. The blessed 
Ferdinand, Archbishop of Granada, and who 
was also the prime minister of that kingdom, and 
consequently engrossed with multitudinous occu- 
pations, was wont, nevertheless, to celebrate 
every morning. The Cardinal of Toledo inti- 
mated to him, that the Court regretted that he 
celebrated each day, overwhelmed as he was with 
so many serious occupations;* but the servant 
of God replied, " 'Tis precisely for that reason 
that I offer the holy sacrifice every morning ; for , 
their Highnesses have imposed so heavy a burden 
on my shoulders, that I can find no better support 
against being weighed down to the ground than 
the holy sacrifice of the altar, from which I derive 
strength to bear the onerous responsibility placed 
upon me." And of far less avail is a certain species 
of humility, as we find exemplified in the case of 

* Rodriguez, p. 8, Tract 7, c. 16 

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St. Peter Celestine, who, on account of the ex- 
alted estimate which he had formed of so great a 
mystery, wished to abstain from celebrating 
daily. While meditating this half-formed reso- 
lution, a holy abbot, from whom he had received 
the habit of a monk, appeared to him, and spoke 
thus, in a tone of imperious remonstrance: 
"Where in all heaven will you find me a seraph 
who is worthy to celebrate? God has made men 
and not angels ministers of the holy sacrifice, 
and men are subject to a thousand imperfections. 
Humble yourself as much as you will, for it is 
good, but celebrate daily, for such is the wish of 
th3 Most High." But in order that the frequent 
celebration may not tend to diminish the due 
reverence, you should labour to imitate those 
saints whose modesty and attention shone out 
more lustrously during the august function. The 
great and far-famed Archbishop, St. Herbert, 
was overpowered by such extraordinary devotion 
whilst celebrating Mass, that he looked like 
an angel of Paradise. St. Laurence Giusti- 
niani, while saying Mass, seemed to have grown, 
as it were, immoveable at the altar; his eyes 
flowed with tears, and his entire soul was cen- 
tered in God. But St. Francis de Sales may be 
regarded as the most sublime example of all; for 
never was there an ecclesiastic who, at the altar, 
comported himself with greater majesty, re- 
verence, or recollectedness than that which he 
exhibited. No sooner was he clothed in the 
sacerdotal vestments than he divested himself of 
every thought that had not direct relation to the 

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divine function he was going to perform, and 
once that his foot touched the first step of the 
altar, his whole interior and exterior put on an 
angelic expression that captivated the hearts of 
all who beheld him. 

But how came it that those saints were able to 
find so much comfort and refreshment in the 
celebration of holy Mass ? Simply because they 
celebrated with proper dispositions, just as if they 
had been in presence of the entire court of 
heaven. Let me illustrate this by telling you 
what on one occasion happened to St. Bonitus, 
Bishop of Clermont. The holy prelate was one 
night praying in his church, when the blessed 
Mother of God, attended by choirs of celestial 
spirits, appeared within the sacred precincts. 
Some of the angels attending on our Lady asked 
her, •* Who is to celebrate the holy sacrifice at 
daybreak?" and she answered, "Bonitus, my 
well-loved servant." The holy bishop hearing 
his name spoken retired, filled with dread, and 
wishing to hide himself leant against a stone, 
which, on the instant, became soft as clay, by a 
special miracle, and took the impression of the 
saint's body, which it has retained ever since. 
But his humility only served to make him the 
more worthy, for he was constrained to celebrate 
in presence of the great Mother of God, and 
was attended, during the celebration, by all 
the foresaid heavenly spirits. After Mass the 
Blessed Virgin bestowed on him an Alb, of 
purest white, and of texture so fine, that there 
never was anything that could be compared to it, 

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and which, even to this day, is preserved as' a 
most precious relic. Now, only fancy with what 
modesty, recollection, and love he must have 
celebrated that Mass. But should this example 
appear too sublime for your imitation, contem- 
plate that given you by the glorious St. Vincent 
Ferrer, who was accustomed to offer the holy 
sacrifice every morning before preaching, and 
who always brought with him to the altar two 
grand perfections, unblemished interior purity 
and an external cleanliness, of the most edifying 
character. In order to secure the former, he 
made it a rule to approach the tribunal of Pe- 
nance every morning ; and I would counsel you, 
O priests who desire to taste of God in cele- 
brating the august mysteries, to imitate him in 
this respect. Some of you spend half hours 
reading devout little books, in order to prepare 
yourselves for the holy sacrifice, while, by making 
a brief examination of conscience, and exciting 
yourselves to a heartfelt contrition for some sin 
of your past life (other matter not presenting 
itself), you could thus acquire that purity of con- 
science so desirable. Here, then, is the most 
fitting preparation that you can make for the. 
saying of Mass, confess your sins every morning. 
Away with all scruples, and take heed to this, 
my counsel. Oh, what a superabundance of 
merits will not this enable you to acquire ; and 
how cordially will you thank me hereafter in a 
glorious eternity ! In order to provide for the 
latter (external cleanliness), St. Vincent Ferrer 
invariably caused the altar to be adorned with 

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all possible pomp and decorum ; and as he til ways 
celebrated the holy mysteries in presence of van! 
congregations, he took great care that every- 
thing, vestments and sacred utensils, pertaining 
to the altar should he kept scrupulously clean. 
Now, let me tell you that I can hardly refrain 
from weeping, when I call to mind what I have 
witnessed when giving missions, not only in the 
churches of rural districts, but also in those of 
the great towns. Alas I to what am I to attribute 
such shocking neglect? Must 1 attribute it to 
the avarice, negligence, or irreligion of the minis- 
ters ? 1 know not ; but this I know, that 1 have 
seen Vestments, Corporals, Puriiicatories, and 
other requirements of the altar, so filthy and 
stained, that they almost turned the stomachs of 
priests as well as laymen, who could not look on 
them without feelings of horror. " Nothing,'* 
says the holy Council of Lateran, 4 'can be so ab- 
surd as to be heedless of that want of neatness 
in sacred things, which you would not tolerate in 
profane things." For my part I cannot bear such 
criminal neglect ; and I now warn ye, Sacristans, 
Paiish Priests, and Rectors, that 1 will, one day, 
make you accountable before God's tribunal for 
your horrible negligence. How will you say 
that you have not been guilty of a mortal sin, if 
you furnish the altar with linens which you 
would not place on a profane table ? And now, 
ye Bishops, Prelates, and Visitors, what are ye 
doing? Why, when you find, on your visita- 
tions, foul Puri6catories, Corporals half con- 
sumed by mice, and chalice-veils begrimed,- why, 

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I ask, don't you tear them to pieces under the 
very eyes of such negligent Parish Priests ? Why 
don't you punish them to the utmost extent of 
your power? You will tell me, perhaps, that 
you find everything neat and in good order in 
the churches. Take heed that you are not de- 
ceived by such representations ; and let me ad- 
vise you to adopt the very clever stratagem of a 
most zealous bishop, who, when on his visitation, 
entered a Sacristy , which was amply furnished 
with all requirements, Chasubles of cloth of gold, 
Albs of the finest texture, and all other things 
in perfect keeping. Now, said he to the Parish 
Priest, I command you, under pain of suspension 
from all priestly faculties, to be incurred on the 
very instant, not to allow a single one of all these 
things to be removed from your church under any 
pretext I Will you believe it ? — the Parish Priest 
had borrowed all those things for the occasion ! 
I am well aware that the poverty of many 
churches is ample excuse for the absence of rich 
altar apparel, adorned with gold and silver; but 
how can poverty be an excuse for the absence of 
neatness and cleanliness ? My seraphic patron, St. 
Francis, cherished such glowing zeal for the 
holy sacrifice that, although loving holy poverty 
beyond all things, he insisted, nevertheless, that 
the sacristies and the altars should be kept in the 
most scrupulous cleanliness) and still more so, the 
sacred furniture that was used about the ador- 
able Sacrament. Indeed, with his own hands Le 
very often swept the floor of his church. St. 
Charles Borromeo, too, in his exhortations, 

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showed himself so exact in those particulars 
(descending frequently to what might seem 
merest minutiae), that he astonishes all those who 
read his life. In fact, the ever blessed Mother 
of God herself in person was pleased to express 
her wishes regarding this matter when revealing 
herself to St. Brigid. She said to her, " Mass 
should not be celebrated except with cleanest 
vestments, which inspire devotion by their pro- 
priety and neatness." 

Before terminating this paragraph, I feel my- 
self called on to say a few words regarding the 
minister who serves Mass. In our days this 
office has devolved on mere boys and pious 
youths, although the grandest monarchs of the 
world are not worthy of such an honor. St. 
Bonaventure tells us that this is an angelic office, 
because, during the divine oblation, many angels 
are actually present who serve God in that august 
function. The glorious saint Matilde had a vision 
of the soul of a lay brother crowned with inef- 
fable glory, because he had always behaved with 
extraordinary diligence and devotion while serv- 
ing every Mass at which he was able to be 
present. And St. Thomas of Aquin — that light 
of the schools — justly appreciating the hidden 
treasure enfolded in this office of serving at the 
divine sacrifice, would not be content after offer- 
ing it if he was not allowed to serve the Mass of 
another priest. And Thomas More, the Chan- 
cellor of England, took the greatest delight in 
this holy work of serving at Mass; so much so, 
that on one occasion, when taunted by some 



minister of state, who said that King Henry would 
be offended if he learned that the Chancellor 
had so humbled himself, the latter replied, " My 
lord the king cannot be offended with me for the 
service I render to his Lord ; nay, to the King 
of kings and Lord of lords." Certain persons, 
and some of them belonging to religious commu- 
nities, are very much abashed at the idea of 
having to perform this holy office ; so much so, 
indeed, that it is often necessary to almost com- 
pel them to serve Mass. But instead of being 
ashamed to serve at the altar, should they not 
rather rival each other in anxiety to carry the 
Missal, and have the honor of performing a ser- 
vice so devout in its nature that the angels and 
blessed in heaven themselves envy them ? Great 
diligence, however, should be employed in instruct- 
ing the persons who are permitted to serve 
Mass. Let them be taught to keep their eyes 
bent downwards, and to observe that strict de- 
corum which is inspired by a profound sense of 
the majesty of the august sacri6ce. Let their 
whole exterior exhibit deepest reverence and com- 
punction. Let them be taught to pronounce the 
words distinctly) slowly, and in a tone not too low 
to be heard by the priest, nor so loud as to distract 
those who are celebrating at the other altars. Special 
care should be taken to exclude certain thought- 
less little boys who are given to levity, and who, 
instead of performing the office of servitor de- 
voutly, often indulge in trivialities and noise, so 
as to distract the celebrant. My earnest prayer 
to God is, that He will deign to enlighten men 

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of good dispositions to give edification by under- 
taking an office so laudable and so holy. Surely 
the noblest and the wisest are they who should 
set the example to others. 

§ . 2. 


The examples of those who hold distin- 
guished positions in the world, generally speak- 
ing, have more influence than the piety of private 
individuals, how great soever it may be ; fur, 
indeed, nothing can be more true than the apho- 
rism which says, ** that every one imitates the 
example of the court." And oh, what a long 
series of those examples left us by the great ones 
of this world might I adduce to animate all those 
who read these pages to walk in their footsteps 
by assisting daily at the holy sacrifice of the 
Mass ! Let us content ourselves, however, by 
glancing at a few of them. Constantine the 
Great not only heard Mass daily in his palace, 
but even in his military expeditions, amid the 
clang of arms and the camp he was always pro- 
vided with a portable altar, in order that the 
holy sacrifice might be celebrated continually. 
To this, doubtless, he was indebted for his most 
splendid victories. The Emperor Lothaire ob- 
served the same holy practice ; for he made it a 
rule in time of war, as well as of peace, to hear 
three Masses every day. And the pious King 

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Henry the Third of England also daily heard 
three Masses, at which his entire court assisted 
with the most exemplary devotion. And God 
rewarded him most signally even in this life ; for 
he swayed the sceptre fifty-six years. Now it is 
not necessary to dwell on the history of the past 
in order to show how great was the piety of the 
English kings, or their assiduity in assisting at 
the holy sacrifice, since we have only to call to 
mind the profound devotion of Maria Clementina, 
that most pious queen whose demise Rome has 
not yet ceased to lament, and who, as she herself 
often confided to me, esteemed no happiness equal 
to that of assisting at Mass. In fact, she was 
accustomed to hear many Masses every day, and 
while engaged at this holy work she remained 
immoveable, dispensing with cushions and kneel- 
ing- 8 tools, so that she seemed a veritable statue 
of piety. This practice, so devout and so admi- 
rable, kindled in her heart such glowing love for 
Jesus in the Sacrament, that she usually attended 
every day at three or four benedictions of the Most 
Holy, driving at full speed through the streets of 
Rome, in her carriage, in order to be in time at the 
different churches. And oh, how many tears did 
this great and devout lady shed in her holy hunger 
for this Bread of Angels ! A hunger, indeed, so ve- 
hement as to cause her to languish day and night, 
because she felt her heart constantly turning to- 
wards that object on which her love was centred* 
Nevertheless, God so willed it that her anxious 
desires in this particular should not be gratified; and 
this he ordained in order to render her love heroic. 

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hay, to make her a martyr of divine love, for I 
believe that this unsatisfied desire of receiving holy 
communion accelerated her death, as may be 
manifestly concluded from the last letter which 
she wrote to me when her dissolution was nigh. 
But one thing is certain, namely — that, although 
deprived of frequent communion, she was not 
deprived of its merit, since she found in spiritual 
communion that ecstatic love which she could 
not indulge in sacramental communion. Not 
only during the celebration of Mass, but fre- 
quently throughout the day, she repeated her 
spiritual communion with exceeding great joy of 
soul, rigidly adhering to the form which I have 
laid down in the preceding chapter. 

Now, answer me, will not this example (which 
we have witnessed with our own eyes, and which, 
in our own times, has been admired by every one 
in Rome) be sufficient to smother in their throats 
the idle excuses of all those who make so much 
difficulty about hearing Mass daily, and making 
a spiritual communion during its celebration. 
Although it is not in my power to persuade you 
to imitate this pious queen, by devoting all the 
affections of your heart to intense desires of re- 
ceiving Jesus in the Sacrament, yet, I would 
exhort you to imitate her in employing the labour 
of your hands, as she was often wont to do, to 
provide sacred furniture for poor churches. This 
example, indeed, has been followed in Rome by 
numerous ladies of every rank, who deem it a 
delightful recreation to elaborate, with their own 
hands, ornaments and furniture for the altars. 

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Nor is Rome the only city in which such pious 
works are performed, for I could name a great 
Princess (living elsewhere), of highest rank and 
most noble birth, and not less illustrious for her 
piety, who, every morning, assists at many Masses, 
and very frequently occupies all the ladies of her 
household in working for the altars, so as to be able 
to send whole chests of Corporals, Purificatories, 
and such like necessaries, to missionaries and 
preachers, in order that they may be distributed 
among poor churches, and that thus the holy 
sacrifice may everywhere be celebrated with fit- 
ting splendour, cleanliness, and decorum. What 
should now prevent me from exclaiming, ye great 
ones of this world, here you behold a sure means 
of winning the kingdom of heaven. And yet, 
tell me, 1 beseech you, how do you act ? Why 
do you not open your hands, and prove your 
liberality by bestowing abundant alms on so many 
churches that are steeped in poverty? It will 
not do to tell me that the treasury is half empty, 
that the taxes are insufficient, or that the revenue 
is every day decreasing. I will point out to you 
a very ready method of providing for God's 
altars, without prejudice to the dignity of your 
estate. Here it is ready to your hand. A horse 
the fewer in your stables, a footman the fewer on 
your carriage box, a butler the fewer in your 
summer residence, and thus you will have effected 
a considerable saving, which will enable you to 
relieve the necessities of so many poor parishes. 
You summon diets and congresses, you enter into 
treaties, and convoke councils of war, to secure 

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the welfare of your provinces, and yet all this 
does not prosper, whereas one single thought, 
suggesting a middle course, might adjust a ne- 
gotiation, and that negotiation carried out might 
save a whole kingdom. But that , thought, so 
replete with advantages, whence is it to come ? 
From God — ponder well what I tell you — it must 
come from God alone. And what is the most 
efficacious means for obtaining it? The holy 
Mass. Therefore, hear as many Masses as you 
can, cause many Masses to be celebrated for your 
pious intentions, furnish the altars with sacred 
vessels and suitable vestments, and by doing this 
you will find a most marvellous providence of 
God keeping guard over you, a providence, in- 
deed, that will protect your States, and render 
you happy in time and in eternity. 

Let us conclude the paragraph by quoting the. 
example of St. Wenceslaus, King of Bohemia, 
which all of you should imitate in part, if not to 
its full extent. This holy King was not satisfied 
with assisting daily at numerous Masses, kneeling 
on an uncarpeted floor, nor with serving, in per- 
son, the celebrant priests, an office in which he 
comported himself with humility far greater than 
might be found in any cleric who has only been 
admitted to tonsure, the least of minor orders; 
but along with this, he contributed to the sacred 
altars the richest jewels of his treasury, and the 
most costly stuffs from the royal wardrobe. With 
his own royal hands he was wont to make the 
Hosts which were to be used in the holy sacrifice ; 
and with this object before his eyes, regardless of 

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his royal dignity, he, himself, employed those 
hands, destined to wield sceptres, in cultivating a 
field, guiding a plough, sowing the seed, and 
gathering the crop. He then ground the wheat 
carefully, prepared the flour for baking, nay, and 
formed the hosts which were to be consecrated, 
and which he presented to the priests with the 
most humble reverence, in order that they might 
be converted into the divine body of our Saviour. 
Oh, hands worthy, indeed, to wield the sceptre of 
the entire world ! But how was he rewarded for 
a devotion so tender ? Almighty God caused the 
Emperor, Otho I., to cherish such unequalled 
love for this holy King, that he authorized him 
to quarter in his arms the imperial device, a 
black eagle in an argent field, a favor which he 
would not grant to any other potentate. Thus 
did God, through means of the Emperor Otho, 
reward the great devotion which Wenceslaus en- 
tertained for the most holy sacrifice. But far 
more splendidly was he recompensed by the King 
of Heaven, when, by a most glorious martyr- 
dom, he obtained a diadem of everlasting glory. 
Thus, in return for his love and veneration of 
holy Mass, was he doubly crowned in this life, 
and in the kingdom of heaven. Reflect and 

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A lady who enters church pompously, and be- 
dizened with a variety of ornaments, is likely to 
attract the attention of those who are there assem- 
bled, and, in some instances (may heaven avert 
such impiety!) even hearts, thus robbing God of 
the profound and undivided homage that is due 
to Him. Hence it would be superfluous to cite, 
examples in order to induce such ladies to hear 
Mass every day ; for, in fact, they are only too 
anxious to be seen in the churches. My grandest 
object is to teach them with what great modesty 
and reverence they should comport themselves in 
the house of God, particularly during the celebra- 
tion of the holy sacrifice ; and, indeed, it affords 
me great pleasure to say, that I have been greatly 
edified by the demeanour of many ladies of dis- 
tinguished rank, who enter the churches and 
kneel before God's altars, attired modestly, as be- 
cometh the holiness of the place. But, on the 
other hand, I must confess that I have been 
greatly scandalized by some vain, thoughtless 
creatures, who, with plumed head-gear, gaudy 
habiliments, and deportment such as is usual on 
the stage of a theatre, would almost make one 
think that they were go<Jdesses of a heathen tem- 
ple ! In order, therefore, to awaken in this latter 
class of persons that reverential awe which should 
influence them during the celebration of the 
august mysteres, I will here relate a miraculous 

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vision which is described in the life of the blessed 
Ivetta, a Flemish noblewoman. Assisting at Mass 
one day, she found herself kneeling beside a 
young lady who was dressed in the height of the 
prevailing fashion. Now God was pleased so to 
enlighten his blessed servant Ivetta, that she 
actually beheld the workings of that young wo- 
man's heart, and had the clearest perception of 
all the thoughts — some of which were of the most 
abominable sort — that entered and passed through 
her mind, without any restraint. Hovering about 
this vain young woman were countless fiends, 
who seemed to attend her as her hired servants ; 
some of them arranging the drapery of her robe, 
others taking special care of her glittering 
trinkets, as though this was their whole duty. 
At length the fashionable lady presented herself 
at the communion rail to receive the holy sacra- 
ment. The priest descended the altar steps with 
the ciborium in his hands, and Blessed Ivetta 
beheld, as it were in a vision, the reluctance with 
which Christ suffered Himself to be sacrament- 
ally administered to the sinner. 

But you will say to me, " I do not belong to 
a class so contemptible and so depraved," and, 
indeed, I believe you are stating what is the 
truth ; but yet, that style of dress, so unsuited to 
the solemn majesty of God's temple — those trin- 
kets and perfumes — that all-absorbing wish to be 
seen and to be admired — to have people say of 
you, " how surpassingly beautiful ! how splendidly 
dressed! how graceful in her movements!" 
Where shall I find words strong enough to de- 

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nounce such scandals ? I tell you that vanities 
of this kind are an abomination in the sight of 
God* I tell you that by such conduct you turn 
His house into a den of robbers. So you must be 
aware that you rob Christ of honour, by distract- 
ing not only the virtuously-disposed members of the 
congregation, but even the very priests minister- 
ing at the altar ! Ah, then, enter into yourselves, 
and resolve to imitate Saint Elizabeth, Queen of 
Hungary, who would go in all regal state to Mass, 
but on reaching the sacred threshold, would re- 
move the diadem from her head, the rings from 
her fingers, and thus divested of all royal orna- 
ment, would kneel, covered with a veil, so modest 
in her demeanour that she was never known to 
glance around her or turn away her eyes for a 
single moment from the altar. And so pleasing 
to Almighty God was her devout conduct, that 
He deigned to make His approval of it manifest 
to the entire congregation ; for, on one occasion, 
during the celebration of the holy sacrifice she 
Was Enveloped in a luminous glory that dazzled 
the eyes of all those who were present, and made 
every one regard her as an angel of paradise. 
Yea, imitate this noble example, and be assured 
that you will thus render yourselves pleasing in 
the sight of God and men, and the fruits which 
you shall gain from the holy sacrifice will be in- 
effable blessings in time and in eternity. 

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Great, certainly, is the fruit to be gained by 
assisting at the holy sacrifice, as we have shown in 
the preceding Instruction ; but there are certain 
circumstances frequently occurring which render 
it inexpedient for some women to go to Mass on 
ordinary days. You who are nursing an infant, 
or are bound by an obligation of justice or of 
charity to attend a person lying sick, or you who 
have an irreligious or ill-tempered husband who 
forbids you to leave the house, you should not be 
disquieted about it, or what is worse, disobey. 
For, although holy Mass is indeed a thing than 
which nothing can be holier, and as we have de- 
monstrated, productive of countless blessings, 
nevertheless, obedience, and the denial of your 
own will, are better in the circumstances to which 
we have alluded. Furthermore, for your conso- 
lation be it told you, that by obeying you redouble 
your gain and merit ; since the goodness of God, 
in such a case, will not only reward your obe- 
dience, but will give you credit for the Mass just 
as if you had actually heard it, because He is 
fully satisfied with your holy intention. On the 
other hand, disobedience must deprive you of one 
and the other merit, for it would prove that you 
found more pleasure in acting according to the 
promptings of your own will, than that of God, 
who has expressly declared in the Holy Scriptures 
that "obedience is better than victims," or, in 

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other words, that he is more satisfied with obe- 
dience than with Masses and sacrifices which are 
not of precept. 

But what if you should go to Mass to indulge 
in idle conversations, curiosity, and voluntary 
distractions, and thus return to your home empty- 
handed and unbenefited by the august sacrifice ? 
So did it befall a certain peasant-woman who lived 
in a cottage hard by the village-church. She, in 
order to obtain from God the concession of a 
favour on which she had set her heart, vowed and 
resolved to hear a great number of Masses in the 
course of the year. Therefore, whenever she 
heard the bell inviting the people to the divine 
sacrifice, she would instantly lay aside whatever 
work she had in hands, and hurry off to the 
church through sleet or snow, utterly regardless 
of the inclemency of the season. On her return 
home, in order to keep a punctual and accurate 
account of the Masses (so that she might not fail 
of a single one of the number to which she bound 
herself), she invariably deposited a bean in a little 
box which she kept in a secret place. At the 
close of the year, fully assured that she had com- 
plied with her vow, presented a great offering of 
homage to God, and acquired no trifling merit for 
herself, she proceeded to open the little box, when 
lo ! of all the beans that she deposited there, she 
found only a single one. Overwhelmed with as- 
tonishment, she was sadly grieved, so much so 
indeed, that she addressed herself to God, while 
tears streamed from her eyes, saying, " O Lord ! 
how happens it, that of all the Masses 1 have 

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heard, I only find the mark of one ? Surely, I 
never failed to be present at the altar, even when 
it was most inconvenient for me to leave my cot- 
tage ! Surely, I never allowed bad weather, rain, 
frost, or any other obstacle to keep me from going 
to church !" God, indeed, inspired her to go and 
consult a wise and pious priest, who asked her how 
she had conducted herself when going to church, 
and with what devotion, interior and exterior, she 
had assisted at the holy sacrifice? To these 
questions she replied thus : "On my way to the 
church I used to gossip with my acquaintances 
about our domestic concerns, and other things of 
less serious importance, and when kneeling at the 
altar I confess that I was in the habit of whisper- 
ing to this one and that, having my thoughts 
always fixed on my little household or farm. ,, 
" Here, then," replied the priest, " you state the 
exact cause of the loss of so many Masses; 
gossiping, curiosity, and voluntary distractions 
have robbed you of so much merit; either the 
demon has carried off the records you deposited 
in the box, for his own purposes, or your guardian 
angel has removed them in order that you might 
discover how good works may turn out utterly 
worthless, if not performed with the proper spirit 
Give God thanks, nevertheless, that you have heard 
one Mass as you should, and that that one has 
been profitable to you." Now here make a serious 
reflection, and say to yourself, " Who knows how 
many of all the Masses I have heard during my 
life may have been acceptable and agreeable to 
God ?" What does your conscience answer ? If 

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it tells you that very, very few of them may have 
been beneficial to you in God's sight, lose no time 
in employing the only true remedy, and resolve, 
forthwith, to amend your conduct for the future. 
But if, unhappily (which God forbid !), you may 
have been one of those wretched creatures who 
do the work of the devil, by recruiting souls for 
him even in God's consecrated temple, listen to 
the following appalling fact, and tremble. 'Tie 
related in a book, entitled, ' Dormi SicuroJ that 
a certain woman, reduced to abject poverty, 
wandered about in a state of despair through 
unfrequented places, where a devil appeared to 
her and spoke thus — " You were once weD off in 
the world, and I feel for your altered circum- 
stances ; do now what I bid you, and you may 
rest assured that I will make you as comfortable 
as you were formerly. Whenever you go to church 
entertain the persons who kneel beside you with 
idle, impertinent gossip ; do all you can to distract 
them by whispering, and such like irreverences, 
and you may be sure that I will keep my promise. ,, 
The wretched woman consented to the proposal, 
and gave herself, body and soul, to do the devil's 
work, in which she succeeded wonderfully ; for she 
maintained such incessant chattering with what- 
ever person happened to kneel beside her, and 
employed so many artful stratagems to distract 
every one within her reach, that it was wholly 
impossible to attend piously to the divine sacrifice, 
or listen with due reverence to the priest preach- 
ing the word of God. But it was not long till 
the. avenging hand of God seized her ; for one 

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morning a terrible thunder-storm came on sud- 
denly, she alone was struck by the lightning, and 
reduced to a handful of ashes in the sight of a 
vast multitude ! 

Learn, then, ye women, and be instructed by 
this terrible mark of God's anger. Shun all those 
who, by means of idle chatting and such abomina- 
ble irreverence in church, make themselves instru- 
ments of the devil : shun those, if you do not 
desire to bring down God's direst chastisement 
upon your head. 


The idol of our days is *«^-interest, and oh, how 
many prostrate themselves before it, offering to 
it, at all times, and in all places, their most fer- 
vent homage ! And thence it comes, that running 
after this idol they forget the true God, and 
eventually precipitate themselves into an abyss 
of evils where they shall remain for eternity, 
deprived of all comfort and of all love. Alas ! 
alas ! how miserable is their condition, and how 
widely do they differ from those who, as the 
royal prophet tells us, in the first place, seek God, 
who will shield them from every misfortune and 
cause them to abound in all true happiness! 
" They that seek the Lord shall not want any 
good thing."* This is clearly verified in all those 

* »P». xxxiii.ll, 

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who, before applying themselves to their ordinary 
business, make it a rule to assist every morning 
at holy Mass, as the incident which is related of 
the three merchants of Gubbio will show. 

Those three traders went to a fair held in the 
town of Cisterno, and after disposing of their 
wares, two of them began to speak of returning 
home, nay, resolved to start next morning at day- 
break, in order to be back in their own country 
before nightfall. The third, instead of consenting 
to their arrangement, remarked that next day 
being Sunday, he could not think of commencing 
the journey till he had heard holy Mass. If, 
therefore, you wish for my company, said he, you 
must first assist at the holy sacrifice, and when 
we have taken some refreshment we can start 
together. Endeavouring to induce them to follow 
his counsel, he remarked that in case they were 
not able to reach Gubbio that night they had no 
reason to be disquieted on that head, as there 
were several good inns on the road. All his re- 
monstrances, however, were of no avail ; for his 
two companions, who were bent on reaching home 
that night, contented themselves with saying that 
God Almighty would have compassion on them if 
they lost Mass on that one occasion. On Sunday 
morning, therefore, before the sun had risen, and 
without entering the church, they mounted their 
horses, and set out homewards. When they ar- 
rived at the River Corfuone, they discovered that 
it had been greatly swollen the night preceding, by 
heavy rains, which so strengthened the current 
that it beat furiously at the piers of the wooden 

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bridge, shaking and weakening them. It was 
necessary, however, for our travellers to cross the 
bridge, but no sooner had they reached its centre, 
than it yielded under their weight, and they, with 
their profits, were precipitated into the boiling 
flood, where they perished almost instantly, thus 
at one and the same time losing their lives, money, 
and in all likelihood their immortal souls ! 

When the news of this calamity was spread 
abroad, the peasantry hastened to drag the river 
for the corses, which they at last discovered, and 
laid upon the bank till such time as they might be 
identified and obtain Christian burial. Meanwhile 
the third trader, who tarried behind in order 
to fulfil the precept of hearing Mass, had set 
out on his journey, and on reaching the river 
he beheld a crowd attracted round the two dead 
bodies. Reining up his horse, he halted to ascer- 
tain who they were, when, to his horror, he dis- 
covered that the corses were those of his two 
friends. The bystanders soon made him aware 
of the awful manner of their death, and no sooner 
did he hear the detail than he raised his hands 
and eyes to heaven, thanking the good God who 
had so mercifully preserved him from a like fate. 
Oh, how often and how fervently did he bless 
that hour in which he assisted at the holy sacri- 
fice, to which he now most justly attributed his 
preservation. On his return home he announced 
the sad tidings, and caused the relatives and 
friends of the deceased to have the corses decently 
interred. Need we say that this frightful occur- 
rence, and the miraculous escape of the good 

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trader, excited in the hearts of the whole neigh- 
bourhood a lively desire to assist daily at the 
august mysteries of the altar ? Accursed avarice 
(I must give free expression to my feelings), 
accursed avarice that tearest man's soul from 
God, nay, and almost deprives him of the exercise 
of his free will in regard of what should concern 
him most of all — his eternal salvation ! 

In order, therefore, that avaricious traders may 
enter into themselves, I will make my meaning 
more clear by availing myself of an example taken 
from the inspired volume. Sampson, as you are 
aware, was bound, but all in vain, with sinews of 
oxen, and strong fresh cords, which never before 
had been used. At last, he foolishly revealed 
to the deceitful Dalilah that his strength lay 
in the hair of his head ; and no sooner was it 
shorn off than he lost all his unequalled strength 
and vigour, nay, fell into the hands of the 
Philistines, who deprived him of his sight, and 
condemned him to grind corn at a mill. Now let 
me ask, what was Sampson's greatest error? 
Was it that he allowed himself to be bound hand 
and foot so firmly ? No. His error lay not in 
this, for he knew very well that all the ropes in 
the country were like so many gossamer threads 
to him. In a word, he erred by revealing the 
seat and secret of his strength, and allowing his 
hair to be shorn, for no sooner was this done, than 
Sampson ceased to be Sampson. Now let me 
suppose that a trader suffers himself to be bound 
by the ties of multitudinous engagements, such as 
his shop sales, bills of exchange, and divers nego- 

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tiations, &c, &c. Does all the awful danger of 
avarice, which God so abominates, consist in all 
this ? Certainly not in all this, but the danger 
lies in allowing the hair to be shorn. I explain 
myself. Imagine a trader who has much business 
to attend to, but who hearing at early morning the 
bell inviting to Mass, says to himself, " Business, I 
must lay you aside for awhile, for I must hurry 
off to Mass." Such a one is a Sampson bound by 
his business avocations, but not shorn. Another 
trader is also bound by seven or more cords, 
workmen to be engaged, accounts to be paid, let- 
ters to be written, correspondents to be answered, 
&c., &c. — one man is waiting to be answered — 
another to be paid — Oh, what a multiplicity of 
bonds ! How perplexing and engrossing ! What 
matter, however ! Sunday, or the festival of his 
patron saint, comes ; he disengages himself from 
all business, and proceeds with all piety to assist 
at many Masses, and perform various works of 
devotion. This also is a Sampson, bound, but 
not shorn ; for, notwithstanding the multiplicity 
of his avocations, duties, &c, &c, he never loses 
eight of the most important business, namely, his 
eternal salvation. But mark well what I say to 
you now. If you are bound by a thousand ties 
of self-interest, without strength to sever them — 
if you neglect to come forth at the proper time — 
if you relax your assiduity in frequenting the 
sacraments, and grow cold and indifferent to as- 
sisting at holy Mass — oh, such miserable Samp- 
sons! then, indeed, you are bound and shorn. 

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In this case, although you may justly add to your 
gains, I warn you that the way you take to do so 
is not just, for you inflict a terrible loss on your 
soul, and you are guilty of a sordid avariciousness 
that will sooner or later treat you as Sampson 
was treated, till, as was the case with him, the 
roof, shall tumble on your head and crush you. 
And then •' whose shall these things be which 
thou hast provided ?"* 

But I think I hear you say, u Those avaricious 
men will never be moved by our remonstrances, 
if we do not address ourselves to their particular 
bent." Well, be it so ; what is your aim ? To 
grow rich, accumulate, and make vast profits. 
Here, then, is the way of compassing your end. 
Assist at the holy sacrifice of the Mass every 
morning. Let me illustrate this by the example 
of two traders, both of whom follow the same 
line of business. One of them has the responsi- 
bility of a family, wife, sons and nephews ; the 
other is childless, although married. The for- 
mer supported his family in great comfort, and 
all his affairs prospered wonderfully. His shop, 
constantly thronged with customers, made ex- 
ceeding large profits, so much so that he was 
every year able to bank considerable sums, which 
he reserved as marriage portions for his daughters. 
The other, who, as 1 said, was childless, had no 
success in trade, was dying of hunger, and all 
but driven to desperation. One day he addressed 

* Luke, xii. 20. 

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his neighbour confidentially, thus : " How comes 
it that you are so prosperous ? God seems to 
shower abundance upon you ; and I, unfortunate 
that I am, can hardly raise my head, while want, 
in its most frightful aspect, is ever at my door 1* 
" I will answer you candidly, my friend, " replied 
the well-to-do trader, " and 1 will call to-morrow 
morning and show you the source from which I 
derive so much worldly comfort." The morrow 
saw him at the house of his friend, whom he led 
straightway to a neighbouring church to hear 
•holy Mass. At the conclusion of the divine 
sacrifice he accompanied him back to his deserted 
shop, repeating the same performance twice or 
thrice, till at last the unfortunate man said : " if 
nothing is required to alter my wretched circum- 
stances but to go to Mass, I know the way to the 
church well enough to do without your guidance." 
" Exactly," answered the prosperous man, " hear 
holy Mass every day, and 1 promise you that 
your affairs will soon take a turn for the better." 
And, indeed, he spoke the truth, for no sooner 
had he begun to assist at holy Mass daily, than 
he was well supplied with work, so much so that 
he was, in a brief period, enabled to clear off his 
debts, put his house in good order, and enjoy 
comforts to which he had been,f or many a weary 
day, an utter stranger.* Do you believe in the 
Gospel ? Now, if you do believe in the Gospel, 
how could you entertain the least doubt of this 
truth? Does it not tell you, emphatically, to 

* Surius* Life of St John the Almoner. 

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" Seek first the kingdom of God and his justice," 
and all those things shall be added to you."* 

§. 6. 


The great Apostle tells us, that " if any man 
have not care of his own, and especially of those 
of his house, he hath denied the faith, and is 
worse than an infidel."! This care is to be un- 
derstood as relating, not only to their bodies, but- 
much more so to their souls. Thence it follows, 
that if it would be a great impiety to deprive 
one's servants of corporal food, it must be a far 
more heinous impiety to deprive them of the 
spiritual aliment, and especially of the most perfect 
facility of daily assisting at Mass, for the loss of 
which no employer, however rich and powerf ul, 
can ever compensate. When God made the great 
covenant with Abraham, He commanded that 
not only he, but his entire household, should be 
circumcised : "He that is born in thy house, and 
he that is bought with thy money, must needs be 
circumcised." § Here, then, is an evident proof 
that a good Christian should not be satisfied with 
attending in his own person at the divine worship 
(especially at holy Mass), but he should, likewise, 
use every means in his power to induce every 
member of his entire household to follow his ex- 
ample. So punctual was Saint Elzear, Count 

• Mat. vl.33. fl Tim, ▼. 8. 

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of Ariano, in carrying out this divine rule, that 
among other ordinances established for the govern- 
ment of his household, he made this the principal 
one, that all his servants should, every morning, 
assist at holy Mass. In fact, he insisted that every 
one in his employment, male and female servants, 
pages and grooms, should be present daily at the 
divine sacrifice. 'Tis, truly, a most sanctifying 
custom, and one, thank God, which is observed 
by multitudes of pious people at Rome, where 
Cardinals and Prelates, with their respective fol- 
lowers, hear Mass every morning. Nor should 
you foolishly think, that the time which your 
servants spend assisting at holy Mass is time lost. 
Oh, how richly will God compensate you for it ! 

Saint Isidore was a poor farm-labourer, who 
never omitted to hear Mass daily; and God, 
wishing to prove how grateful the humble man's 
devotion was to Him, caused angels to plough his 
field one morning, while he was assisting at the 
holy sacrifice. True it is that God will not work 
miracles so palpable for you, but in how many 
different ways will He recompense your piety ? 
You can easily draw your own conclusions on this 
head, from what I am about to relate concerning 
a poor vine-dresser, who supported his family by 
the sweat of his brow. This excellent man made 
it a rule to assist at Mass daily, before going to 
his work. Having gone one morning, at day- 
break, to the market square, he remained waiting 
for some employer to give him a day's work, but, 
on hearing the bell of the village church inviting 
the people to JVlass, he, according to his custom. 

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felt sorrow for his past life, which was impious, 
became a most devout attendant at the holy sacri- 
fice, at which he assisted daily (causing many to 
be celebrated for him in various churches)* till at 
last, after a well-spent old age, he closed his days 
in peace* dying a sanctified death. 

Behold, now, how liberal of blessings God is 
to all those who prove themselves truly devout to 
the holy sacrifice of the Mass. To Mass, there- 
fore, my poor people ; frequent the divine obla- 
tion, and be assured, that in this permanent 
devotion you will find comfort and balm for all 
your sufferings and woes* 

§. 7. 


The two great doctors of the Church, St. 
Thomas the Angelic, and St. Bonaventore the 
Seraphfc, teach, as we have shown in the pre- 
ceding Instruction, that the most holy sacrifice of 
the Mass is of infinite value, both by reason of 
the Victim that is offered, that is, the body, the 
blood, the soul, and the divinity of Christ our 
Lord, as also by reason of the primary Offerer, 
who is Jesus Christ himself. And yet, alas! 
how many are there who set so little value on 
this treasure of infinite value, that they postpone 
it to their most perishable and sordid worldly in- 
terests. My chiefest aim in composing this little 
book has been to promote the spiritual and tern- 
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poral welfare of all those who will deign to peruse 
it; and I cherish a hope, that every one who 
studies its pages will be enlightened by them, 
and taught to form something like an adequate 
appreciation of a jewel whose value is inesti- 
mable. And if hitherto this most holy sacrifice 
has been to them a Hidden Treasure, now, that 
they are conscious of the infinite value which it 
contains, may they resolve effectually, in their 
innermost heart, to get possession of it by assist- 
ing daily at the holy Mass. Let me, then, in the 
hope of causing my words to be graven on your 
soul, narrate to you an appalling occurrence, 
which will set the seal on my poor work. 

Eneas Silvius, who was afterwards Pope Pius 
II., tells us, that in a certain city of Germany, 
called Svezia, there lived a gentleman of high 
social position, who, after losing nearly his entire 
wealth, retired to a country house, for the sake 
of economising. Spending his time in great se- 
clusion, he soon became a prey to the prof oundest 
melancholy, so much so, indeed, that he was in a 
state bordering on desperation. While he was in 
this deplorable condition, the devil often sug- 
gested to him that he ought to put an end to his 
life, " for," said the tempter, " there is nothing 
for a barren tree but the woodman's axe." In 
this conflict of mental agony and temptations, 
the gentleman had recourse to a holy confessor, 
who gave him the following good advice : '' Let 
no day pass without assisting at holy Mass, and 
make your mind quiet." The gentleman, indeed, 
was pleased with the advice, so much so that he 

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lost no time in carrying it out ; and in order to 
prevent the possibility of ever losing Mass, he 
engaged a chaplain, who daily offered the ador- 
able sacrifice, at which he assisted with the most 
edifying devotion. Now, it so happened, on one 
occasion, that the chaplain went to a neighbour- 
ing village to be present at the Mass of a priest 
just then ordained, and the gentleman, so good 
and pious, fearing that he would be deprived of 
the holy sacrifice on that day, set out for the 
same village, in order to gratify his devotion. 
On the road he met a peasant, who told him that 
he might return home, as the Mass of the newly- 
ordained priest was terminated, and there was to 
be no other on that day. Deeply afflicted at this 
intelligence, the gentleman began to weep bitterly, 
repeating over and over again, u What is to be- 
come of me, what is to become of me, miserable 
man ? Perhaps this may be the last day of ray 
life." The peasant wondered much at this out- 
burst of grief, and said to him : ** Do not weep, 
so, Sir, do not weep, for I will sell you my Mass. 
Give me your cloak and I will give you the Mass 
at which I assisted." The gentleman readily 
accepted the proposal, and having given the cloak 
to the peasant, he walked on to the church, where 
he knelt down, and said a few short prayers. He 
then set out for his residence, but he no sooner 
reached the spot, where, in his simplicity, he had 
made that most absurd and eocecrabU bargain with 
the peasant, than he beheld the latter, who had 
sold his Mass, hanging from the branch of an 
V, like Judas, who strangled himself in despair. 

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In fact, the temptation to self-murder had passed 
from him into that wretched peasant, who volun- 
tarily deprived himself of the aids of grace which 
he might have derived from the holy sacrifice, 
and thus left himself an easy prey to the devil, 
whose malignant suggestions he was not able to 
overcome. Pondering on all this, the good gentle- 
man convinced himself that his confessor had 
given him the most valuable remedy for resist- 
ing all sorts of temptation, and he thenceforth 
resolved to be confirmed in his determination to 
assist daily at the adorable sacrifice of the altar. 
From this calamity so horrifying, I would have 
you to deduce two truths of greatest import- 
ance ; first, how abominable is the gross igno- 
rance of some Christians, who, far from setting 
right value on the adorable sacrifice, treat it as a 
thing that may be bartered for vile lucre. Hence 
that impropriety of language from the lips of 
certain people, who frequently speak to a priest 
in this manner : " Will you allow me to pay you 
for a Mass ?" Pay for a Mass ! and where will 
you find capital for that ? Where will you find 
any sum of money that can equal the value of a 
Mass, since one Mass is of greater value than all 
Paradise itself ? Oh, ignorance the most intole- 
rable! That trifling sum of money which you 
give to the priest is given to him for his mainte- 
nance, but not as a payment for the adorable sacri- 
fice, which is beyond all price. 'Tis true that in 
the course of this work I hive exhorted you to 
hear Mass daily, and even to have Ma93 fre- 
quently celebrated for your spiritual aud temporal 

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necessities, and for the repose of those who are 
dear to you, and yet, who knows but the devil 
may have put it into your head to think and 
speak as follows : " The priests, with their fine 
and specious arguments, exhort us to have many 
Masses celebrated; but all is not gold that 
glistens. They are bent on making gain for 
themselves, and it may one day appear that their 
only motive was self-interest.'' Oh, how griev- 
ously would you deceive yourself were you to 
think or speak thus 1 For my own part, I thank 
God for having led me to embrace an Institute 
that professes the strictest and most rigid poverty, 
an Institute in which we accept no alms for the 
celebration of Mass, for even were we offered 
one hundred dollars for a single Mass, we would 
reject them, since we celebrate all our Masses 
with the same intention that Christ had on the 
cross, when He offered to his Eternal Father that 
first sacrifice on Calvary. Therefore, if there be 
any one who can speak out boldly, and without 
the shadow of suspicion on such a subject, it is 
I, whose only object is to promote your spiritual 
and temporal welfare. This, indeed, has been 
my sole aim throughout the little work which is 
now in your hands ; and as-I close it, I would 
fain exhort you to realise in practice the advice 
I have so often given. Therefore, I beseech 
you, once more, to hear as many Masses as you 
can, and to cause many to be celebrated for you, 
for you will thus be enabled to lay up for your- 
selves an exceeding great treasure, which will re- 
dound to your advantage in Time and in Eternity. 

y VjVJVJ^I^ 


The second grand truth to be drawn from the 
event already narrated, is the efficacy of holy 
Mass in obtaining for us every good, for deliver- 
ing us from every sort of evil, and particularly 
for conferring on us spiritual strength to con- 
quer temptations, be they ever so numerous 
and formidable. Let me then repeat — to Mass, I 
implore you ; to Mass, if you are desirous to 
achieve victory over your enemies, and to see the 
devil and all his powers crushed beneath your 

There remains but one other advice, which I 
would impress, with all my energies, on priests, 
both Secular and Regular, for it relates to both 
in an especial manner. Let me, therefore, repeat 
to you, secular priests, that if you wish to obtain 
great fruits in great abundance from the holy 
sacrifice, you must hear it with profoundest 
devotion. I have hammered on this nail more 
than once in the progress of this work, but I now 
give it the last blow in order to drive it home. 
When at Mass be truly devout, and if it so please 
you, use this little book, and carry into practice, 
with all possible exactitude, what I have prescribed 
for you in the second chapter. Your own expe- 
rience (if you adopt my counsel) will convince 
you that I am right, for within a brief period you 
shall find a wonderful change effected in your 
heart, and if I may be permitted to say so, you 
will be able to lay your hand on the immense 
blessings which God will send to you. 

Oh, ye priests ! you have good reason to dread 
the justice of God, if, through unbecoming haste 

y VjVJVJ^I^ 


or irreverent negligence, you violate the rubrics 
of the sacred rites, if you pronounce the words 
hurriedly, and without heeding their import ; in 
a word, if you confound the action, and celebrate 
the divine mysteries without that internal and 
external devotion which the Church prescribes. 
Remember that you consecrate, touch, and re- 
ceive the Son of the Most High ; nor shall you 
be without sin, if you either omit or slur over 
the least ceremony ordained by the Rubric. You 
will find this doctrine lucidly discussed by the 
most learned Suarez. Hence it was that that 
illustrious oracle of Spain, John d'Avila, held 
as his unalterable opinion, that the EternalJudge 
will call priests to a tremendous account for all 
the Masses they celebrated. On this head, he 
tells us, the scrutiny of the supreme Judge will 
be inexorably rigorous and searching, far more so 
than in regard of any other act of their lives. 
Hence it was, that when some one told him that 
a young priest had died immediately after cele- 
brating his first Mass, the holy man sighed and 
asked : " Has he then said Mass ?" and on being 
answered that the young priest had had the 
happiness of departing this life immediately after 
his first celebration, he resumed : " Alas, he has 
to render a terrible account to God, since he has 
celebrated even one Mass." And you and I, who 
have celebrated so often, how will it be Vith us 
at the bar of God's tribunal ? Let us, therefore, 
make a holy resolution to revise (at least during 
our annual Retreat) all the rubrics of the Missal, 
and all the sacred ceremonies, in order that we 

y VjVJVJ^I^ 


may be able to celebrate, as the Church requires, 
with all possible punctuality. And here let me 
say, that if we priests celebrate with grave and 
devout external composure, and what is of greater 
moment, with great internal fervour, even laymen 
will be brought to hear Mass daily, and to hear 
it with profoundest devotion. Thus will we 
be enabled by God to rekindle in the hearts of 
the faithful of our times the fervour of the early 
Christians, and our good God will thus be su- 
premely honored and glorified. To promote that 
honor and glory is the sole aim of this little book. 

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A Prayer to the Holy Ghost, to be said before assisting 
at Mass, in order to obtain His illuminating Grace, 

Come, O Holy Ghost ! and with thy most sancti- 
fying grace collect, I implore Thee, all the powers 
and all the affections of my soul, so that with 
undivided attention, and with my entire heart, I 
may he enabled to assist at this Holy Mass, and 
derive from it those blessings for which, although I 
confess myself unworthy, I earnestly hope, to the 
greater glory of God, and the welfare of my soul, 
through the goodness and mercy of the same, my 
Lord and my God. Amen. 

Prayer while the Priest is saying the Confiteor. 

O my most amiable Lord and Saviour, who, 
when bowed down by agony and overwhelming 
grief in the garden of Gethsemane, didst address 
Thyself in suppliant prayer to the Eternal Father, 
while the drops of Thy bloody sweat bedewed the 
ground ; grant me grace so to recal Thy most 

y VjVJD^I^ 


bitter passion, that I may be excited to shed tears 
of heart -sprung contrition, as Thou Thy bloody 
sweat of grief that night. Amen. 

A Prayer when the Priest ascends the Altar, 

O my most loving and meek Saviour, who, when 
dragged like a malefactor into the presence of 
Annas, didst endure the bufferings of the impious 
Jews, grant that imitating Thee I also may en- 
dure resignedly the insults of mine enemies, and 
comport myself as becomes a true Christian amid 
all the trials and temptations of this deceitful 
world. Amen. 

A Prayer at the Kyrie Eleison. 

O my loving Lord ! whom Peter, chief of the 
Apostles, did deny in the house of Caiphas; I 
humbly beseech Thee to give me grace to shun 
evil associates, so that I may never, by following 
their counsels or example, or the promptings of my 
own corrupt nature, fall away from Thee and 
Thine infinite goodness. Amen. 

A Prayer at the Epistle, 

O most sovereign Lord ! who being led to 
Pilate's house by the Jews, with every sort of 
insult, wast falsely accused by perjured wituesses ; 
enlighten me, I implore Thee, to avoid all the 
snares of my enemies, and so strengthen me by 
the constant practice of good works, that I may 
never fail to profess openly and devoutly the holy 
Catholic Faith, now and at the hour of my death. 

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A Prayer at the Gospel. 

O my most compassionate Redeemer! who, 
when sent back by Herod to Pilate, whose hatred 
to Thee was the motive of their reconciliation ; 
grant me such sanctifying grace that I may never 
be terrified by the artifices of the impious ; but 
rather draw from persecutions and temptations 
such encouragement that even in the midst of them 
my heart may not wax faint, but grow more and 
more reconciled to Thy most holy will. Amen. 

A Prayer at the Offertory. 

My Lord and my Redeemer, who, to satisfy the 
justice of the Eternal Father for my crimes, didst 
suffer Thy divine person to be bound to the column 
which the stripes of the scourgers sprinkled with 
Thy most precious blood ; grant me grace to 
purify my soul from its loathsome stains of guilt 
in that all-sanctifying stream, so that I may pre- 
sent it pure and undefined in union with Thy 
merits to the Eternal Father. Amen. 

A Prayer when the Priest washes his Fingers. 

O my most tender Saviour ! O Son of the living 
God I who, when pronounced innocent by Pilate, 
didst meekly bear the yells and bloodthirsty exe- 
crations of the Jews in their implacable hatred to 
Thee ; grant me grace to lead a sinless life amid 
the trials and temptations of this world ; oh, grant 
that I may always meet the insults and outrages of 
ray enemies with resignation and holy forbearance. 

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A Prayer at the Preface. 

my most sweet and loving Saviour, who didst 
submit to Pilate's unjust sentence, condemning 
Thee to die ignominiously on the hard wood of the 
cross ! grant me the grace, that when the last hour 
of my mortal term shall have come, I may, for 
love of Thee, feel no dread when my sentence of 
death, no matter how agonizing, is about to be 
executed ; but that I may breathe out my soul in 
the embrace of Thy most holy arms. Amen. 

A Prayer at the Memento for the Living. 

O my most merciful Saviour, who, to redeem the 
world, didst submit to carry the ignominious Cross 
upon thy shoulders to Golgotha, grant me grace so to 
walk in Thy divine footmarks, that I may patiently 
embrace the cross of the mortifications and trials of 
this world, and carry it resignedly for love of Thee, 
even unto death. Amen. 

A Prayer at the Elevation of the Host, 

O my compassionate Saviour, who after .being 
cruelly nailed to the Cross by the hands of the im- 
pious Jews, wast raised up from the ground upon 
it; raise, I implore Thee, by Thine exceeding 
great mercy, my weak heart above all the passions 
and cares of earth, so that my soul may be con- 
stantly fixed on Thee, remembering Thy most 
bitter Passion, the certainty of my own death, and 
the imperishable joys of heaven. Amen. 

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A Prayer at the Elevation of the Chalice. 

My Lord and my Redeemer, who hast willed that 
the source of all graces should be Thy blood 
streaming from Thy most sacred wounds ; enable 
me at all times, when suddenly assailed by sinful 
thoughts, to take refuge in the power and efficacy 
of thy most sacred wounds, and obtain from them 
that aid which will enable me to triumph over 
temptation during my whole life. Amen. 

A Prayer at the Memento for the Dead. 

My ever adorable Redeemer, who, while gasping 
in agony on the Cross, didst supplicate Thy Eternal 
Father for the salvation of all mankind, for those 
even who nailed Thee to the ignominious gibbet ; 
enkindle in my heart a most ardent love of Thee, 
so that at every moment of my life, in conformity 
with Tby divine example, I may learn to love my 
neighbour, and do good even to my enemies. 

A Prayer at the Pater Noster. 

My Lord Jesus Christ, who with thy latest breath 
didst recommend Thy most blessed Mother to 
St. John, and St. John to her; deign always to 
accept my body and soul, so that with Thy holy 
assistance I may make great progress in the way 
of the Spirit and of perfection. Amen. 

A Prayer when the Priest puts into the Chalice a portion 
of the Host. 

O merciful Saviour,who,descending into Limbo, 
didst gladden with Thy divine presence the expect- 

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ant souls of the Patriarchs ; cause, I implore Thee, 
the efficacy of Thy most precious blood and of 
Thy most holy Passion to descend upon the souls 
suffering in Purgatory, so that being released from 
their direful tribulations, they may be received into 
the eternal joys of heaven. Amen. 

Prayer at the Agnus Deu 

My Lord Jesus Christ, since many of the Jews 
acknowledged their black ingratitude, and wept for 
their awful crimes when they beheld Thee expiring 
in torture ; grant me grace, through the merits of 
Thy most bitter death, that I also may weep and 
do penance for my heinous transgressions. Amen. 

Prayer when the Priest receives the most Holy Communion, 

My most merciful Lord, who, to redeem all man- 
kind, didst permit Thy most holy Body, after it was 
taken down from the Cross, to be laid in a new made 
sepulchre ; grant me the grace that my heart may 
be so renewed, as to be a fit abode for Thee* Amen # 

Prayer when the Priest gives the Blessing. 

O my Lord, most loving and most worthy of my 
love, who, while Thy disciples were all fervently 
praying in the supper-room, didst send down the 
Holy Ghost to comfort them ! cleanse, I beseech 
Thee, my heart with Thy most holy grace, so that 
the Holy Ghost may find it a pleasing dwelling- 
place, and abide therein, enriching with His multi- 
form gifts the poverty of my soul. Amen. 

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Soul that belongest to God, read and meditate 
these devout exercises. The more you read, and 
the more you are influenced by these holy sugges- 
tions, the more pleasing will you be to Jesus, and 
the greater will be your blessing in the world to 
come. If the first sentence awakens deep sorrow 
and devotion in your heart, read no farther for a 
while, but rather surrender yourself to that inspira- 
tion by which God begins to attract you and 
work upon you. Whenever you cannot receive 
sacramentally, make it a rule to do so spiritually, 
sighing out your love to Jesus, and desiring 
nothing so much as to receive Him in the adorable 
Sacrament. For this spiritual communion, you will 
prepare yourself by making the following fervent 
acts, aspirations, and exercises. 

Before Confession. 
Mourn, O my soul ! for all your crimes ; regard 
your sins as the greatest of all calamities, and do so in 
order that you may confess them with the proper 
dispositions; for you have outraged God your 
Father ; you have insulted God who created you ; 
you have treated with indignity God who has loved 
you so tenderly ; you have offended God who has 
made you his adopted child ; you have insulted God 
who has made you an heir to the kingdom of 
heaven ; you have insulted God the Supreme Good — 

_ i 

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infinite goodness itself — the source and centre of all 
grace ; nay, you have insulted God at the very mo- 
ment when He was showering blessings upon you. 
Mourn for your transgressions, for you have 
sinned against God, who for love of you became in- 
carnate; you have insulted a God, who in His 
excessive love of you was born in a manger ; you 
have insulted a God, who even in His childhood 
wept tears of blood for you; you have insulted a 
God, who for your sake lived in misery and obscu- 
rity under the humble roof of a carpenter; you 
have outraged a God, who for love of you spent 
many a weary day announcing that h.oly doctrine 
without which you could not be saved; you have 
insulted a God, who has deigned to bequeath Him- 
self to you in the adorable sacrament of the 
Eucharist; you have insulted a God, who agonized 
in a bloody sweat for you ; you have insulted a 
God, who meekly allowed Himself to be manacled, 
dragged, and reviled for love of you ; you have in- 
sulted a God, who patiently bore the strokes, the 
phlegm, and the brutality of the impious Jews, for 
love of you ; you have insulted a God, who allowed 
Himself to be fastened to the column, and lashed 
by the cruel scourgers for love of you ; you have 
insulted a God, who did not refuse to be crowned 
with brain-piercing thorns for love of you ; yeu 
have insulted a God, who suffered Himself to be 
clothed as a mock king, and made an object of 
scorn and jest for love of you ; you have insulted a 
God who bore the heavy weight of an ignominious 
cross for love of you ; you have insulted a God, 
whose hands and feet were transpierced with rude 

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nails for love of yon ; you have insulted a God, 
who breathed out his last sigh nailed on a 
gibbet for love of you ; you have insulted a God, 
who suffered His adorable lips to be moistened 
with vinegar and gall for love of you ; you have 
insulted a God, who in the excess of His love be- 
queathed His immaculate Mother to you that she 
might be your Mother, and you her grateful child ; 
you have insulted a God, who died and was laid in 
the sepulchre for love of you, who suffered His side 
to be pierced by the soldier's lance for love of 
you ; you have insulted a God — a God who by His 
own power arose again to life, and now is enthroned 
at the right hand of His eternal Father in Heaven, 
whither He invites you. In a word, you have in- 
sulted Jesus Christ, who ransomed you with the 
shedding of His blood; you have insulted your 
Prince, your Life, the Physician of your soul ; you 
have insulted a God, who has sought, alas how 
vainly ! for your love, in order to shower blessings 
on you here, and everlasting blessings in eternity ; 
you have insulted a God, whose love of you has 
known no limit. My soul, my wretched soul ! why 
hast thou acted thus ? What evil has God done 
unto you P Alas, alas! why hast thou outraged 
His patience thus ? But now, at least, begin to 
repent of your transgressions, and to love God. 
Oh, that I had always served and loved that good 
God, who so loved me that He laid down His life for 
me ! My God, my love, my life, my hope ! I love 
Thee with all the powers of my heart and soul ; and 
I detest my sins because they alienate me from Thee. 
At the tribunal of penance, which Thou hast insti- 

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tuted, I will confess all my transgressions, firmly 
resolved, with the aid of Thy grace, never to 
offend Thee more ! 

Another Prayer. 

O most adorahle Trinity, and most worthy of 
all my love, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, my 
God, I prostrate myself before Thee I Mercifully 
regard me, most miserable sinner, who would fain 
be reconciled to Thee by a good confession. But, 
O my God, as I can do nothing but what is bad, 
if unassisted by Thee, I implore Thee by the 
bowels of Thy tender mercy so to enlighten me, 
that I may remember all my sins ; make me sensible 
of their enormity and hideousness, so that I may 
abominate them with all my heart! O Jesus, 
never-failing fountain of compassion ! I approach 
Thee that Thou mayest wash me of all my iniqui- 
ties ! Sun of righteousness, send the bright beams 
of Thy illuminating grace into the dark recesses 
of my soul. Divine Physician, deign to heal Thy 
infirm creature. Love, that art infinite, kindle the 
flames of Thy love in my soul, so that it may love 
none but Thee. And may this confession that I 
am going to make be all that Thou would wish it. 
May it bring about in me an entire change of life, 
so that I may be fully reconciled to Thee, my God, 
my hope, my love; for Thou art indeed my 
Saviour, and without Thee there is no peace for 
this erring soul. 

Prayer after Confession, 

Oh, that I could thank Thee as I ought, my 
beloved Jesus, for having, by Thy gracious power, 

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saved me from the fires of hell, Thau hast, by 
the Sacrament of Penance, restored me to the in- 
heritance of Thy heavenly kingdom. Endless, 
boundless goodness of my God, how can I thank 
thee P But, oh, this weak heart is likely to relapse, 
if not sustained by Thee ; and like Judas, I top am 
capable of betraying Thee, if Thou wilt not guide 
and uphold me by the aid of Thy grace. Ah I I 
cannot rely on myself: assist me, therefore; let Thy 
hands overshadow me ; strengthen me when 
temptations assail me, and, ob, rather call me to 
Thyself, through the brazen portals of death, than 
let me live to insult Thee any more. 


Awake, slumbering soul, to bless thy God for 
all His mercies ! Remember that He became in- 
carnate for thee. Remember that Jesus, who was 
born in the manger of Bethlehem, who conquered 
death, and who is enthroned at the right hand of 
His Father, is now really and truly present in the 
most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. O thrice 
holy belief ! O greatest of all consolations ! God is 
here really present under the appearances of bread 
and wine ! He, the Almighty One, is ready to 
take up His abode in my heart, and to become 
entirely mine! 

Act of Faith. 

Jesus, my loving God, since thoa hast revealed 
it, I firmly believe that Thoa art really and truly 
present, soul, body, and divinity, in the adorable 
Eucharist. I believe that in the most holy 


Eucharist I receive that very Jesus who died, and 
who rose again from the dead, and that in Him I 
receive the eternal Father and the Holy Ghost. 

Act of Adoration. 
O my soul, what art thou doing ? What 
thoughts engross thee ? Yet a little while and thy 
loving God will come to dwell within thee. O 
Lord Omnipotent ! 1 prostrate myself in humble 
adoration before Thee. I adore Thee, O Jesus ! in 
this Sacrament of Thy love. Come, Mary, my 
tender Mother; come, all ye angels and saints, and 
with me adore my Jesus. Oh, obtain for me a 
lively faith, and profoundest veneration, now that 
I am about to receive my Jesus; and now my soul 
thou shalt be filled with all good, since thy Jesus 
comes to abide in thee. He comes to enlighten 
thee, to unite Himself with thee, in order that thou 
mayest have a foretaste of that never-ending delight, 
which He has prepared for thee in heaven. Awake ! 
exult, O my heart ! let thy confidence grow stronger ; 
and remember that thou art now about to obtain 
the gratification of all thy most fervent desires. 
Jesus is Almighty; He can give thee all good 
things. He openeth His hand, and showers bene- 
dictions on all. He is to thee a loving Father, and 
desires to enrich thee with the profusion of His 
choicest gifts. He is ever faithful to His word, and 
He will, therefore, bless thee with everything thou 
dost need. O Jesus, exhaustless mine of wealth ! 
give me Thy graces ; teach me to love thee daily 
more and more; teach me, Jesus! to hope un- 
failingly in Thy tender mercies. 

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Act of Hope. 

O Jesus, dearest hope of my soul ! I rely with 
unshaken confidence on Thy divine promises. Thy 
most precious blood, shed for me on Calvary, is a 
pledge of Thy loving compassion for my poor soul. 
O Thou who art infinite compassion ! grant, now 
that I am about to receive Thee, that my soul may 
be sanctified. Grant that all its desires may be 
acceptable to Thee, so that I may live and die 
loving none but Thee, O beauty ever ancient and 
ever new 1 Come, then, God of my heart's fondest 
hopes, sanctifier of souls, come and sanctify me. 
O my soul ! what is there that God has left undone 
to win thy love ? Did He not take flesh of the 
Virgin Mary ? Was He not born in a miserable 
manger ? Did He not die on the cross for love of 
thee ? and, O miracle of love! is He not now really 
and truly present in the Eucharist for love of thee ? 
He now invites thee to the heavenly banquet, to 
receive Him, and so lovingly does He invite thee, 
that His divine heart will brook no delay. O love, 
that has had no equal ! The God of infinite 
beauty, perfection, and majesty desires this morn- 
ing to bestow such blessings on me as He hath 
never bestowed on the Seraphim. He deigns, nay 
desires to take up His abode in my heart He, the 
Almighty Lord, desires to be united with me? and 
thou, my soul, wilt thou not give all thy love to that 
God who has loved thee so tenderly ? 

Act of Love. 

Jesus, centre of my love, God of my heart, how 
worthy art Thou of my love, and of all the pure 

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affections of my heart. My God, I love thee with 
all the faculties of my heart and soul. Thou art 
my Creator, my sovereign Lord, and I love Thee 
more than myself ; for Thou art the sole object of 
my heart's longings. Thou art the beginning and 
the end of all. Oh, that I could praise and bless 
Thee as the angels and saints do in heaven ! Ob, that 
I were able, even at the sacrifice of my life, to 
make all mankind praise, bless, love, and adore 
Thee ! God, most amiable ! how gladly would I 
spend all my days in toil for love of Thee. Inflame 
my love that it may be worthy of Thee. Teach . 
me, I beseech Thee, to bless, thank, and love Thee, 
with that love which Thy holy Mother cherished 
for Thee. I love Thee, O Jesus ! but do Thou in 
Thy goodness so strengthen that love that it may 
never fall away from Thee, for the sake of all the 
accumulated goods of this transitory world. Jesus, 
Thou art my treasure, my life, my hope, my bliss. 
I love Thee because Thou hast toiled add died for 
me. I love Thee because Thou alone art worthy 
of my undivided lore. Thou art my Lord and my 
God, and I desire nothing so much as to love Thee 
incessantly, and uninterruptedly. Soul, God has 
created thee to love Him. Give Him, therefore, 
all thy love. O heart, thou knowest that there is 
no peace, happiness, or contentment without thy 
God ! Sever, then, all earthly attachments, and 
hail the coming of thy God. Mary, mother of 
pure love, pray that I may love my God with all 
my soul and all my strength. Alas ! my soul, 
hast thou not been the abode of vice, crime, and 
cold indifference to thy God? Hast thou not 

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often and often transgressed His holy laws ? Ah, 
hast thou not often imitated the impious Jews 
who crucified thy Redeemer? Nay, hast thou 
not surpassed them in cruelty and black ingrati- 
tude ? Hast thou not by mortal sin crucified the 
Son of God over and over again ? O my soul, 
now that He is about to visit thee in the Sacra* 
mem of love and reconciliation, implore Him to 
wipe out all the stains of thy iniquity. 

Act of Contrition. 

My loving Jesus, by my multiplied crimes I 
have crowned Thee with the thorny crown; I 
fastened Thee to the cross ; I have drenched 
Thy lips with vinegar and gall ; I have thrust the 
spear into Thy side ; I have caused Thee to die. 
How could I be worthy to receive Thee ; I who 
am not worthy to breathe the breath of this 
mortal life. I am a wretch whom the earth 
should swallow up— a sinner against whom 
heaven should cast all its thunderbolts — a 
oriminal who deserves to be detested by all 
created things. But, O my God, Thou art in- 
finite goodness ! How repeatedly, alas ! have 
1 trampled on Thy blood, dishonoured Thy name, 
scorned Thy authority ; yet not only dost Thou 
pardon me, but Thou, of Thy own divine will, 
aesirest to be reconciled to me ; and for an act 
of penance, for a tear of contrition and love, 
Thou cancellest all my Crimes* Thou restores! 
roe to Thy favour, and Thou makest me once 
more Thy friend and son. Oh, in truth, Thou art 
my God, infinitely kind, infinitely great, infinitely 

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faithful) and infinitely loving 1 xThou art mj 
God, an abyss of limitless glories and perfection. 
Oh, how transcendently great is Thy goodnessin 
giving Thyself to me — to me a miserable sinner ! 
Praise to Thy ever-holy name ! Ah, would that 
I might die of sorrow for having outraged so 
good a God. I am heart-broken for having sin- 
ned against Thee! Pardon me, O my God I I 
consult not my own selfish interests ; I only 
wish that Thou, my loving God, shouldst be 
honoured and glorified by me henceforth and for 
ever. Purify with thy most precious blood, O 
Jesus ! this sin-stained soul, till it is made a fit 
tabernacle for Thy Divine Majesty. O Mary, 
thou comforter of the afflicted ! give me tears of 
heart-sprung contrition. My soul, thou art about 
to partake of the body of the Lord Jesus. Hast 
thou duly considered who God is, and what thou 
art ? Ah, though thou wert one of the Cherubim, 
uniting in thy own person the love felt by 
myriads of angels, and all the virtues of the 
saints, even so thou wouldst never be adequately 
worthy of receiving thy God. 

An Act of Humility. 

At last, O Jesus ! the hour has arrived when 
Thou shalt come to dwell in the heart of one who 
is, alas 1 a vile sinner. Oh, by the bowels of Thy 
tender mercy, I supplicate Thee to have com- 
passion on me, and to tolerate me ! Lord, Thou 
art that God, before the awful splendour of whose 
sanctity heaven and earth fade into nothingness. 
Ah, how unworthy, then, am I to appear in Thy 

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sight ; but I must hasten to receive Thee, for 
Thou wiliest that I should do so; nay, Thou dost 
invite me, and like a son I must obey Thee, my 
God and my All. Let the Seraphim, let the 
Saints, let ever- blessed Mary satisfy for my 
defects and want of intense devotion. Lord, if I 
am not worthy to love and receive Thee, Thou 
deservest to be loved and received by me. Do 
with me as Thou wiliest. Render me subservient 
to Thy greater honour and glory ; make me 
worthy of this greatest of all favours ; supply all 
my deficiencies, and make this poor heart entirely 
Thine own. The hour has come, my soul, the 
long-wished-for hour, when thou art to receive 
thy Jesus. The King of kings, the Lord of 
lords, thy God, is about to enter under thy roof. 
" Behold the Bridegroom cometh, let us go forth 
to meet Him." But, O my soul! why art thou 
so cold ? why dost thou not burn with holy 
desire to partake of His sacred body? Ah, 
should not the consciousness of His divine love 
and compassion kindle within thee intensest love 
for Him ? If thou were only to receive Him 
once during thy life, with what fervour would st 
thou prepare for that august occasion ! But, 
alas ! now that Infinite Goodness is ever ready to 
give Himself to thee, thou art tepid, nay and cold 
at the very moment when He is about to take up 
His abode in thee ! O my soul ! would that thou 
wert like those pure and loving ones who longed 
with a burning desire for this divine communion. 
Would that like them thou thirsted for that all- 
refreshing fountain. Courage, my soul ! awake ! 

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yearn to receive thy Jesus ; hanger and thirst 
for the Supreme Good shrouded in the sacra- 
mental veils. Awake ! invite Him with tears of 
love, and with a heart all on fire with love of Him. 

An Act of Desire, 

Comb, Thou, bread of angels, and satisfy the 
cravings of my soul ; come, Thou, glowing furnace 
of charity, and inflame my soul with the fires of 
divine love ; come, Shepherd divine, and guide me ; 
come, Eternal Father, my hope, my life, my joy, 
and source of all my happiness ; come, Thou, 
dearest object of all my aspirations ; come, Thou, 
comforter of the sorrowful, light supernal of the 
soul ; edme,Thou, who art the solace and refresh- 
ment of the weary ; come to me, O Thou, for 
whom the nations prayed, and for whom the 
patriarchs sighed ! come to me, O Thou, the de- 
sired of ages, joy of angels, glory of the heavens, 
supreme delight of saints I come to me, for I yearn 
for Thee ; come to me, for Thou hast transpierced 
me with the arrows of Thy love ; come, delay 
not, for my heart waxes faint, and I feel that I 
cannot exist without Thee; come, O Jesus I I 
beseech Thee, come. Most holy Mary, behold 
I am going to receive the body and blood, soul 
and divinity of thy adorable Son. From thy 
blessed hands I would fain receive Him. Present 
Him to me as thou didst to the shepherds, and the 
kings who came from afar off to adore Him, and 
to holy Simeon, in the temple. Oh, obtain for me 
grace to receive Him worthily ! Beseech Him 
to fill me with His choicest blessings; and 

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dear Mother! hearken to the prayer of thy 
suppliant child. 

An Act of Offering. 

O my God ! I offer Thee this my communion 
in unison with that of ever Blessed Mary, 
of Thy holy Apostles, of all Thy Saints, and of 
all the just who this day receive Thee, or who 
shall receive Thee in future times. My wish and 
intention is to make all those fervent acts of pre- 
paration and thanksgiving which are offered to 
Thee now, or shall he offered in time to come. 
I offer them all to Thee now in union with those 
virtues, merits, and that sanctity with which Theu, 
my Jesus, didst receive Thyself in the Eucharist 
at the Last Supper. May the Church trium- 
phant in heaven, and militant on earth, supply 
my deficiencies of love, adoration and gratitude ! 


Behold my cravings are appeased! behold 
all my longings are gratified 1 now my God hath 
deigned to visit me I now Jesus abides in my 
heart ! Now I can say with the Apostle, I am 
no longer my own but Christ's. I no longer live 
in myself but in Christ, and Christ lives in me. 
I entirely belong to Christ, and oh, happiness ! 
Christ is mine. Oh, ineffable goodness ! the 
God of Heaven has passed the portal of my lips, 
come into my bosom, #nd taken up His abode in 
the heart of a mortal creature, who is so con- 
temptible, so wretched, and so unworthy 1 My 
soul, of what art thou now thinking ? Thou 

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art now possessed of that God for whom thou hast 
been longing. Thou art sanctified by the real 
presence of Jesus, thou art incorporated with 
Jesus. Thou and thy Jesus are one. mar- 
vellous and delightful union ! My son], now that 
thou art so intimately united to Jesus, wilt thou 
not address Him? Wilt thou not hold sweet 
converse with thy God who is dwelling in thy 
heart? Awake, be recollected, employ all thy 
faculties to adore Him, and greet Him thus : — 
" Welcome, beloved Jesus, I bless Thee for hav- 
ing come to dwell within me. Long have I sighed 
for this moment. But oh, how it grieves me to 
think that Thou hast come to abide in a heart 
harder and colder than the stable of Bethlehem 
— a heart more replete with sorrow and affliction 
to Thee, than the rugged cross was to Thy sacred 
body. O Lord ! what dost Thou discover in me 
but a heart obdurate to Thy divine appeals — a 
heart devoted to the perishable things of this 
delusive world ? Ah, my God ! wherefore hast 
Thou come to dwell in me ? Let me, in the bitter- 
ness of self-reproach, say with St. Peter, depart, 
depart from me, depart from this body of sin, 
which is unfit to be the abode of Eternal 
Majesty, " Depart from me for I am a sinful 
man, O Lord.'' Go and reside within those 
sinless loving souls who pine for Thy advent. 
But no, O my heavenly guest ! depart not from 
me; for if I lose Thee I am lost. O God! 
Thou art my chiefest hope, and I will not be 
separated from Thee. O Supreme Good for 
whom I have longed ! I will clasp Thee to my 

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heart ; and oh, may I live and die in Thy ten- 
der embrace ! Mary, my holy protectress, and 
all you angels and saints, share with me your 
affections, that I may welcome as I should this 
coming of Jesus to my heart. 

Act of Thanksgiving. 

Adorabjle Trinity, one God most worthy of 
my love, I thank Thee with my whole heart for 
having given Jesus to me, a poor sinner; I 
thank Thee for having given me Jesus in the 
Sacrament of the Eucharist ; I thank Thee for 
having invited me to receive Him ; and oh, sweet 
Jesus ! how can I ever thank Thee sufficiently 
for having deigned to visit me ? How can I 
thank Thee as I ought ? O spotless Virgin ! O 
angels ! O all ye blessed citizens of heaven ! O 
all ye souls glowing with purest love of God ! 
enable me to thank my Lord incessantly for His 
infinite condescension. But how far does all this 
fall short of the thanks due to God 1 Surely the 
thankskiving even of all heaven falls immeasu- 
rably short of what is due to an infinite God, and 
what is there in heaven or on earth that could 
compensate Him for his infinite benefits ? What 
then am I to do, but offer, O my most sweet 
Jesus ! Thy own love itself in thanksgiving for 
Thy infinite love. Let all Thy tender mercies, 
Thy gracious condescension, and Thy attributes, 
which are infinite, render unto Thee that honour 
and gratitude which Thou so eminently deservest. 
O adorable Trinity, one God! I thank Thee 

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through Jesus, anddoTbou,0 Tri-une God! thank 
Aesus for me. Now let my heart overflow with 
gratitude, and may Thy divine Majesty accept, 
and he content with this infinite thank-offering. 
O supreme and everlasting Good J to Thee alone he 
praise, adoration, and glory, from all creatures 
through endless ages. Amen. Of what art thou 
thinking now, my soul? Art thou not a living 
temple, in which Thy Redeemer has deigned 
really to dwell ? Dismiss all idle and distracting 
thoughts ; now is the propitious moment, now is 
the acceptable moment for petitioning Him for 
the graces which thou needest, and for obtaining 
them from the source of all grace who now dwells 
within thee. Now, indeed, Heaven's gate is open, 
now the adorable Trinity, with eyes of mercy and 
love, looks down on the object of its compla- 
cency, Christ Jesus, who is in thy bosom at this 
moment. O my soul! waste not a moment 
so precious, but employ all thy energies to 
co-operate in this all-important affair of thy 
eternal salvation. But how ? What sayest thou 
to thy God? Ah, thoughtless and contemptible as 
thou art. thou wouldst fain live on in thy miseries 
even whilst the God of all riches is abiding 
within thee] Wilt thou continue dumb? 
wilt thou let thy thoughts be distracted? Hast 
thou no interests to promote, no desires to be 
gratified? In a word, hast thou become in- 
sensible and indifferent? Dost thou not know- 
that if thou dost not ask thou shalt not receive ? 
Were a powerful monarch to enter thy house, 
and invite thee to ask favours of him, wouldst 

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thou fail to accept suck invitation ? Alas, alas! 
we are miserable indeed, for we have not lively 
faith. The King of kings, the Lord of heaven's 
treasures is abiding within thee ; thy God has 
visited thee ; He desires to enrich thee with 
-every grace, and yet thou remainest silent. The 
Infinite, AH- Bountiful Being complains that His 
graces are not prayed for; and impatient of 
man's tepidity, and desiring to outpour the 
treasures of His beneficence on so unworthy 
a creature, He Himself invit6s us to ask. 
* Hitherto you have not asked anything in my 
r name. Ask and you shall receive, that your joy 
i may be full."* My soul thou hast received the 
i, Omnipotent Lord, a most tender and bountiful 
l Father, a God who is ever faithful to His word, 
r and why therefore shouldst thou be afraid ? Seek 
Him, trust in Him, ask Him for great favours- 
favours worthy of thy God. 

Act of Petition. 

O mt loving Lord ! since Thou hast deigned to 
visit me that I may be enriched with Tby graces ; 
since Thou commandest me to ask them of Thee, 
listen to me now, I implore Thee, by the bowels 
of Thy tender mercy. Bestow on me, O Jesus ! 
an increase of lively faith, hope, charity, and 
sorrow for my sins. Grant me humility, purity, 
patience, and every other virtue ; cleanse me of all 
my defilements ; change this erring heart, and 

•John, xvi. 

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detach it from the perishable things of. this 
world; conform it to Thy divine will, so that I 
may incessantly seek Thy greater glory'; cause 
all its affections tb bo centered in Thee alone ; let 
its only wish be to obtain Tby love, and never 
allow it to forfeit that supremest blessing* 
I know that grace is a wondrous gift ; I acknow- 
ledge that I have not merited it ; but Thou, my 
loving Jesus, dost merit it for me, The great- 
God of heaven is able to confer graces exceeding 
freat ; grant me, then, this which I have implored 
y your passion and death on the cross ; grant it 
to me for the love you bear to the eternal Father ; 
grant it to me by the merits of .ever-blessed 
Mary ; by the merits of Thy Chttrdh triumphant 
in heaven, and militant on earth ; grant it to me 
because Thou art infinite goodness and com- 
passion. [Here pray with a lively faith for the 
graces and favours which are required for yourself 
and those who ask your prayers."] O adorable 
Trinity ! O my most lovingGod accept my humble 
petition. Now is the moment when Thou wilt 
not deny Thy graces even to the most unworthy, 
because it is not I alone that ask them, but 
Thy divine Son Jesus unites with .me in im- 
ploring them. Indeed, I am not worthy of Thy 
attention, but Jesus, who prays with me and in me, 
deserves to be heard. Eternal and Omnipotent 
Father, I base all my hopes on the promises of 
my Lord Jesus Christ, who has told us that what- 
ever graces we ask of Thee in His name shall be 
granted to us by Thee. " Amen, amen, I say 

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to you, if yon ask the Father anything in ray 
name he will give it to you."* 

Act of Oblation. 

Jesus, my loving God, Thou hast given Thyself 
entirely to me, and gratitude requires that I 
should give myself wholly to Thee. Thou hast 
sanctified me by coming to dwell in my heart, 
and henceforward I will, with Thy divine assist- 
ance, be entirely consecrated to Thee, My eyes, 
which Thou hast opened to the true light, snail 
be Thine. My ears, which have heard Thy gentle 
invitation, shall be Thine; and this tongue, which 
has been sanctified by Thy adorable body and 
blood, shall be Thine for evermore. Oh, may all 
my senses be devoted to Thy greater honour and 
glory; may they never rebel against Thy holy 
law ; may my memory teem with grateful re- 
collections of Thy goodness; may this will, which 
Thou hast sanctified, postpone everything to the 
love of Thee. To Thee I offer my body and 
my soul — all my senses, and all my faculties — my 
entire being. O celestial fire! consume in me 
all that is base and impure. O Omnipotent love ! 
teach me to love Thee with fidelity, now and for 
evermore. Amen. 

Act of Self-Oblation to be made every Morning. 

My eternal God, behold me prostrate before Thy 
immense majesty, and humbly adoring Thee. To 

* St. John, xvi. 

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Thee I offer all my thoughts, words, and actions 
during this day ; and my dearest wish is that all 
of them may tend to promote Thy honour and 
glory. Lord, 1 desire nothing hut to love Thee, 
serve Thee, praise Thee, bless Thee, and fulfil 
Thy divine will. O eternal God ! I beseech Thee 
to enlighten my understanding. Teach me to have 
unshaken faith in Thy mercy; teach me how to 
satisfy Thy divine justice for my many heinous 
sins. Grant that my prayers may obtain comfort 
for the souls in Purgatory, and the grace of con- 
version for all sinners. Tis my most ardent wish 
that everything I undertake to-day may be in 
union with those most pure intentions which 
Jesus and Mary had during their mortal term ; I 
desire nothing so much as that my intentions 
should be the same as those which actuated Thy 
saints during their pilgrimage in this transitory 
world. Grant, O my God ! that I may imitate 
their holy examples, and live the life of the just. 
Accept, therefore, I beseech Thee, my poor heart ; 
give me Thy holy benediction, and grace to avoid 
all sin, mortal and venial, throughout the entire 
course of my life, but particularly during this day 
on which I desire and intend to perform all. the 
works necessary to gain the indulgences of Thy 
holy Church, nay, and to assist at all the Masses 
that are celebrated in the whole universe, applying 
them all in suffrage for the souls in Purgatory, in 
order that they may be released from their torments. 

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How you should act after receiving the holy Communion. 

As soon as you have received the body and 
blood of the Lord, and retired from the church, 
observe, as far as you can, profound silence and 
recollection. Remember the great work you have 
performed, and never forget that you have sacra- 
mentally received Jesus — that very Jesus who for 
nine months dwelt in the womb of the blessed Virgin 
Mary. During the day make frequent acts of 
lively faith, and casting yourself in spirit at His 
feet, say to Him : u Lord, have mercy upon me. O 
Lord ! preserve me from sin, grant me the grace of 
final perseverance; grant me the grace of a holy 
death, and make my soul worthy of Paradise. 
Lord, send Thy blessings on my home and family, 
and grant that my children may grow up in Thy 
holy service." Ask great blessings of God ; ask 
with humble confidence, and you may rest assured 
that you will obtain them alL 

The Viaticum. 

In every house there should be a wax candle set 
apart for the most solemn moment when the priest 
comes to administer the holy Viaticum to the sick 
and dying. This candle should be called the candle 
of the adorable Sacrament, and should be carefully 
preserved, and never lit except on the occasion 
already specified. Devotion of this sort has merited 
special favours from the Most High. 

Conduct in the Church. 

On entering the church, remember that you are 
in the presence of Christ's altar, and that His 

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divine majesty is there enthroned. Yon are, there- 
fore, to comport yourself with silent recollection, 
interior and exterior, doing and thinking only 
such things as are calculated to edify your neigh- 
bour, and bring down God's blessing upon you. 
Avoid all noise, such as unnecessary coughing, 
which is likely to distract others, and especially 
the priest, if he happens to be preaching. Spitting 
on the floor of God's consecrated temple is an 
irreverence which should be carefully avoided. ' On 
entering the church, therefore, say to yourself, I 
am now in the house of God, in the presence of 
God's throne, and it behoves me to conduct 
myself with strictest and holiest decorum. All my 
senses must be consecrated to God, for I have 
entered the holy place to adore and supplicate 
Him. Bear well in mind what I have here laid 
down for your observance, and never forget that 
God's temple is holy, and that those who profane it 
by thought, word, or action, provoke the anger of 
the Eternal. 


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